February 2020

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When you can’t be with your children, it’s good to know


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In addition to hearing the Minnesota Orchestra perform several colorful, “visual” works, you’ll get to watch as the Pictures at an Exhibition music sparks the creation of new work by artist Patricio DeLara during this relaxed concert experience for audiences of all ages and abilities, including individuals with autism or sensory sensitivities.




Just grand


Here’s what you need to know before arranging for grandparent daycare.


Parenting: It’s the ultimate odyssey of self-doubt. 10 CHATTER

Handcrafted This local mama of two created her own aromatherapy line. 12 BUMP, BIRTH AND BABY

Sleep structuring

Read our beginner’s guide to the most common methods. 14 THE UNCENSORED TODDLER

Just say no

The Tryout Blues


It’s not fun, but once you decide to do it, it’s easy. 16 SCHOOL DAYS


Move off candy and make it a day about kindness.

Your kid can’t always make the team. So how do you deal when she doesn’t?


Mama’s team

Every Monday, my mom and sister care for our three kids. 20 NANA & MAMA

Nana on duty It took time to work it out, but this grandma is thrilled.

Matching them up


Getting twins to sleep at the same time might not be easy.



Use these yoga strategies to calm your kids at bedtime. 24 IN THE KITCHEN

Steak night

Make this easy dinner for your Valentine! 50 FROM OUR READERS

Cuckoo for music These kids really love local rockers Koo Koo Kanga Roo.


February 2020 • mnparent.com


38 Camp L ISTIN G S

& About 46 Out CA L E N DA R

About our cover kid Name: Frida City: Hastings Age: 3 Parents: Daniel and Mirta Koplin Siblings: Lucas, 11; Landon, 11; Valencia, 1 Personality: Fearless, kind, creative, helpful Favorite toys: Rocking horse and kitchen set; above she’s playing with a Mozi Flow Ring. Favorite book: Franklin the Turtle Favorite activities: Reading, doing work outside with Daddy, playing with her baby sister and big brothers Favorite foods: Tomatoes and watermelon Photos by Tracy Walsh Photography mnparent.com • February 2020



Undoubtedly W



Janis Hall • jhall@mnparent.com

SALES MANAGER AND CO-PUBLISHER Terry Gahan • tgahan@mnparent.com


Zoe Gahan • zgahan@mnparent.com


Sarah Jackson • editor@mnparent.com


Marissa Bader, Judith Brenner, Megan Devine, Katie Dohman, Ed Dykhuizen, Laura Groenjes Mitchell, Shannon Keough, Mary Rose Remington, Alexa Simon, Carissa Jean Tobin, Tracy Walsh, Jen Wittes


ART DIRECTOR Dani Cunningham


Amy Rash • arash@mnparent.com


612-436-4388 • distribution@mnparent.com


612-436-4360 • sales@mnparent.com 40,000 copies of Minnesota Parent are printed monthly, available at 1,100 locations: mnparent.com/racks Go to mnparent.com/subscribe to get this magazine mailed to your home for $18 a year.

Minnesota Parent (ISSN 0740 3437) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. POSTMASTER send address changes to: MINNESOTA PARENT, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403. Minnesota Parent is copyright 2020 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.


February 2020 • mnparent.com

orry. Fear. Anxiety. Self-doubt. Exhaustion. Why are these so often the badges of modern parenting? It’s because we care so much. Oh my god, we love them so much. Wearing these badges doesn’t feel like a choice to me. And I’m a relatively seasoned parent to an 11-year-old son. Yes, even now, when I drop him off at school, I can still barely stand it: As my car idles at the curb, he scrambles out — throwing his 30-pound backpack over his shoulder — and gives me an “I love you, too.” And then he peeks back at me through the passenger-side window as my car rolls along to wave a bonus goodbye. I can’t even tell you the double-edged knife that goes through my heart. I’m relieved — so relieved to be handing him off to his teachers and his day — so I can rest from the responsibility I feel. I can breathe. I can take a break from nagging him about homework, from answering his many questions, from saying the “right” things to a sixth-grader — who will be driving in less than four years and at college in less than eight. I feel this pressure to raise him “right,” to be the parent I’m supposed to be — but so often feel I’m NOT — so that he can thrive, be safe and live happily. And it all makes me so tired. So I need that break. It’s been like that since he started daycare at 4 months old. But I also die a little bit each time I leave him, just as I did back then. Because the second I drive out of the school parking lot, I want him back with me. I want him at my side so I can baby him forever. I feel torn in two. And then I think: How lucky am I to love this deeply, to have this much meaning in my life? And I vow to STOP DOUBTING myself, lest I miss the chance to enjoy it all. Sure, we’ve all been told a thousand times: “You’ve got this, Mama.” and “Trust your gut, Mama.” But it’s hard to believe it. It’s hard to feel confident — to BE confident. And yet, I know my kid needs me to be strong, to step up, to lead, to be someone he can believe in, to be happy and free. And so, I fake it. And every day, I believe it a little more. And it’s helping. Maybe I am enough. Maybe I am just what he needs. As you read this issue, I hope we can help you with your parenting journey and ease some fears, too. My favorite pieces of advice from this issue can be found in our On Behavior column about yoga at bedtime (you have to try “affirmation volleyball”) and our School Days column about doing random acts of kindness for Valentine’s Day. Both, I predict, will help you savor more sweet moments with your kids. Without a doubt. Sarah Jackson, Editor

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February 2020 • mnparent.com

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mnparent.com • February 2020


Jen Wittes


Help! My baby won’t sleep! A

s with so many parenting decisions, the issue of infant sleep weaves a rough and ragged patchwork of choices. You’ve got hardcore CIO (Cry It Out), co-sleeping for-flippin’-ever, Ferberizing, fading, no-cry, wake-and-sleep, etc. Every option is more likely than the next to give your wee one supreme strength and independence … or a high likelihood of addiction. It all depends which vaguely researched opinion ranks higher on Google on any given day. (Thank you, Internet.) Listen. I first and foremost want to tell you that whatever you are doing is right. Wherever you are — that’s where I will meet you. I support your choices. One of the benefits of my years of postpartum care and research is the experience of seeing, firsthand, that there are so many beautiful ways to be a family. Inside, we all know this, right? We embrace this. Sleep should be no exception in this melting-pot view of our parenting community. If you’re sleep-training curious or sleeplessly READY for anything that will get you even five more minutes, here are my gentle guidelines:


If everyone in the family is happy, healthy and sleeping, don’t worry about sleep training. You do not have to. Not today. When your gut tells you it’s time for a change, make the change. But if you’re content and coasting, enjoy it!


Yes, you can change course. Is Cry It Out breaking your heart? Is wake-andsleep bringing more wake than sleep? Has Baby suddenly developed reflux or has she become clingier during the day?


February 2020 • mnparent.com


tossing and turning? Does getting to bed too late ruin you? Does a nice routine of a bath and some lotion set the tone for better rest? You have your sleep ups and downs, and so will Baby. And also: She’s a baby. Let her be human.


Never mind the neighbors. This is your house. Your child. Your measly five hours of shut-eye. Whatever latest trend or ancient tomb your casual acquaintances present as “The Path” is of little importance. You do you. Always, always, always.


Prepare to revisit this issue, a few times at least. New teeth, runny noses, growing pains, hotel rooms and, eventually, hormones are coming — so many ways to disrupt sleep, so many opportunities to give up, give in, adjust and restructure. That’s life.

Try another way. As with a tricky yoga pose, adjusting the sleep routine might be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. Observe your baby. How is she? Is she scared? Confused? Not the same? Or is she thriving? Happier? Healthier? Forcefully implementing any kind of “structure” is silly if the results are less than desired. Consider the effect, above all.

Take the word “training” out of the narrative. This is not a puppy or a performing seal. This is a human. Try “sleep structuring.” You can continuously reinforce a structure to make it stronger. You can build an environment that will help your family evolve and grow. Consider your own life as a sleep animal and allow it to better help you see your baby. Do you sometimes need a midnight snack? Does a nightmare inspire you to cuddle close to your partner? Does spicy food leave you

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Jen Wittes is a marketing director, writer, certified postpartum doula and mom of two who lives in St. Paul.

A SLEEP GLOSSARY Here’s your beginner’s guide to common infant sleep dogma: Cry It Out (CIO): Let Baby cry until he figures out how to stop and go back to sleep on his own. Ferber method: Put Baby down drowsy, but awake. If Baby cries, soothe him, but not right away. Soothe after three minutes, then five, then 10, gradually increasing the intervals. Note: Attentionwithholding methods such as CIO and Ferber should not be attempted before 4–6 months of age, as nutritional needs must still be met — on demand — with younger babies. Wake-and-sleep: Rock Baby or nurse him to sleep like you would, but wake him ever so slightly (by tickling his feet) so he learns how to fall asleep independently. No-cry: Comfort Baby, but change up the routine so he doesn’t get attached to one soothing mechanism — sometimes nurse, sometimes sing, sometimes rocking with Mom, sometimes cuddling with Dad. Fading: Gradually phase out the comfort measure. Rock or nurse or cuddle or sing for a little less time each night.


Chair method: Sit in a chair (or on the floor) and slowly increase the space between you and your resting child over the course of a night or many nights. Co-sleeping: Sleep near Baby — either on same surface with the Le Leche League’s Safe Sleep Seven precautions in place (llli.org/the-safe-sleep-seven), in the same room or with a co-sleeper crib — so you can quickly or easily soothe Baby back to sleep.





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mnparent.com • February 2020


Shannon Keough


The rise of the child king S

cene: An adult dinner party at your home. You: [Pouring a glass of water for one of your guests.] Guest 1: “Is this ice water?” [Tone more demanding than actually inquiring.] “I want ice water.” Guest 2: [She hasn’t touched the second piece of apple pie she specifically requested 45 minutes ago; you are now clearing the table.] “This?” [She gestures to the uneaten pie.] “Yeah, I don’t want it. I just like to do that.” [By “that,” she means asking for food she has no intention of eating.] Guest 3: “I’m hungry! All that food was totally gross.” Guest 4: Later, you’re in the kitchen, having a conversation with your spouse. Guest 4 storms into the kitchen, wedging himself between you and your spouse and interrupting you mid-sentence. “Why are you playing this stupid music?” he whines. “I hate this music. I want to listen to my music.”

Ahem There are several words I can think of to describe these guests, most of which are unfit for print in a family magazine. But I think most of us would agree that, if nothing else, these guests are a bit rude. Entitled, perhaps. And definitely not people you’re planning to invite back over to your house anytime soon. I imagine it will come as no surprise that


February 2020 • mnparent.com

these “dinner party” moments are actually real-world encounters I’ve had with a small assortment of young children, repackaged into an adult situation to highlight their absurdity. Seriously, sometimes it seems there’s no end to the obnoxious behavior we will accept from children — behavior that, if it was expressed by an adult, would be considered the height of audacity. The whiny child demands, and we hop to it. The stubborn child refuses to leave, so we stay. Why? I think it might have something to do with our fears of crushing our children’s spirits. In her book, Bringing Up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman addresses these concerns: “It’s very hard to know where the correct limits lie. By forcing Leo to stay in a playpen or in the sandbox, am I preventing him from one day curing cancer? “Where does his free expression end and pointless bad behavior begin? When I let my kids stop and study every manhole

cover we pass on the sidewalk, are they following their bliss or turning into brats?”

Just say no So what to do? Just let the kids walk all over us, hoping they’ll somehow pick up better habits along the way? I say no. I mean, I literally say “no.” Frustration is a part of life, and in my view, children might as well start learning about it early on. So when your child demands something you don’t want to give him, you’re allowed to refuse. And while we’re on the topic of unreasonable demands, let me address the topic of negotiation. Although there is certainly a time and place for empathetic listening (“I hear that you want to drink a Diet Coke.”), accepting your child’s emotions without judgement (“You’re upset that I won’t give you a Diet Coke. You’re very frustrated right now.”), and working toward a compromise by offering options (“Would you like some water or orange


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Pull-along toy

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juice instead?”), there is also a time and place for unilateral decision making. Overwrought negotiation strategies are appropriate when choosing a college or resolving a marital spat — not when responding to a child’s passing fancy. When my little son asked me for a Diet Coke, I didn’t agonize over my response. “No,” I said. “In this household, children do not drink Diet Coke.” That’s it. The end. Setting limits is not a fun task. Sure, my son might have kicked and screamed. He might have said, “I don’t like you anymore, Mama.” But your job isn’t to give in to your child’s every demand in a desperate attempt to be liked. Your job is to help your child develop into an adult who doesn’t bark orders at his underlings at work or expect her partner to be forever at her beck and call. Like I said in my very first toddler column, remember: You’re the decider. Shannon Keough lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to skeough@mnparent.com.

Healthy development starts at home. Find fun and easy ideas for infants, toddlers & pre-schoolers.


mnparent.com • February 2020


Love for everyone T

his time of year, if you happen to take a walk through a Target, you may feel an overwhelming urge to purchase seasonal cupcake liners, a heart-shaped throw pillow, a spatula adorned with cupids and a bag of individually wrapped dark chocolate hearts to supplement the five necessities on your shopping list. Valentine’s Day, just like any holiday, is always accompanied by a good dose of commercialism. But it can be kind of fun, too! It’s one of my favorite holidays. In my world, as a kindergarten teacher, throughout the month of February there are red, pink and white hearts everywhere! With so many fun craft activities and themes that can accompany learning, it’s easy to embrace the holiday. And then, of course, there’s a party, inviting everyone in the class to be included in an exchange of cards promoting kindness, fun and clever greetings, plus a good dose of sweetness in the form of sugary treats. Paper cards that express friendship and love with a dusting of glitter and a piece of chocolate attached — that’s what the day is all about right? This excitement and, most notably, this inclusiveness tends to fade when class Valentine’s Day parties end, typically in about fifth and or sixth grade. Older kids eventually start experiencing an influx of hormones and first crushes as well as feelings of acceptance and/or isolation that continue into adulthood. It’s kind of sad if you really start to think about it. But does it really have to be this way? What if we all chose to approach this Valentine’s Day with an intention of


February 2020 • mnparent.com

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, no not just for some, but for everyone. — Burt Bacharach and Hal David

inclusiveness and kindness, just like early elementary school kids? What if we took this simple idea and spread it beyond the walls of primary school classrooms? It’s certainly possible! I challenge you and your family to approach this month of February with an intention to extend some Valentine’s Day

love and kindness a little wider than you have before. Here are eight simple ideas: Send cards to members of your extended family. Make your own or buy a bulk box and bring V-day cheer to grandmas and grandpas, cousins, aunts, uncles and beyond. Bake and share. Buy those heartadorned cupcake liners or red, pink and white sprinkles and make a batch of cupcakes or cookies to share with your neighbor. Create a package of signed Valentines and deliver them to a nearby assistedliving facility, nursing home or shelter. Think of school staff when your kids are preparing cards: How about giving Valentine’s to the school’s nurse, librarian, secretaries, janitors, gym teachers, music teachers, cooks and recess staff?


Poster project

Craft-Tastic has done it again with another cool new art kit: The Empower Poster for ages 8 and up gets kids to design, create and display a one-of-a-kind inspirational piece — custom-made to highlight their identities, strengths and self-worth. $19.99 • annwilliamsgroup.com

Celebrate as a family with something fun. Pick up a Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake heart-shaped pizza for dinner. Go around the dinner table and have each member of your family share something they LOVE about your family. Like and comment. We all feel good when others respond positively to our social media posts. Make a point to like, heart or comment on a friend’s or relative’s post. Acknowledge them by sending them virtual love and kindness. Make a care package for your childcare provider. Post-It: Get a stack of Post-Its and write kind and loving messages on them with your kids. Then go out and spread them around in public places where people will come across them — public bathroom mirrors, in the pages of library books, on a grocery cart or even just around your home. This simple activity has big potential to lift spirits and maybe even brighten the world. Happy Valentine’s Day! Megan Devine lives with her husband and four school-age children in Northeastern Minnesota. Follow her blog — Kids, Lakes, Loons and Pines — at megdevine.com.

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mnparent.com • February 2020


Katie Dohman


Mothering the mother I

was in a bind. My 3-month-old daughter was in an awful daycare. It was nearly seven years ago and thinking about it still turns my thigh bones to jelly. I waited too long to find a daycare — half anxiety, half ignorance — and I made the best choice I could, and then my fears of leaving a child with a stranger came true. She wasn’t taking the bottle. She wouldn’t sleep in the crib. I was getting multiple calls at work every day to come get her. Plus, I was out of time off, because I had to use it for maternity leave — and bedrest before that. And she was born in January, so I had no more time off for a whole year. America!

Piecing it together Long story short, we managed to get her placed in my nephew’s daycare, but the provider didn’t work Mondays. Not ideal either, but I was so relieved and grateful, I teared up on her couch when we visited to see if she’d be a fit. We’d make it work somehow. My mom had just retired from teaching, and my sister is a nurse who works a slightly off-kilter schedule from normal business hours. Together, in some miracle of miracles, they told me they would take Ruby on Mondays. That was seven years ago. Now I have a first-grader, a preschooler and a toddler. And all of those years, all of those Mondays, my mom and my sister have taken my three wild children and tamed them for “Mema and Susie Day,” spending time together and introducing their own little traditions.


February 2020 • mnparent.com

↑ Katie Dohman poses with her mother, Eileen Derdoski, and sister, Susanne Weber. Photo courtesy of Katie Thering Photography

It’s one less forkful of guilt to swallow about being away from my kids more than I’d like to be, because my kids are spending time with beloved family members and getting to know them on their own terms. Here’s what else I get: The spoiledbaby-of-the-family reassurance and support of two people — my north stars since the beginning. I know they will always act with love and in the best interest of my children, and I take mental notes of their child-management techniques.

A safe haven Plus, things like this happen: The week of this writing, William and I were scrambling around some deadlines while the kids

got their devoted day. They were a bit late coming home, and I had that moment of oh-they’re-here-NOW as the headlights swung into the driveway. Had we planned dinner? Not exactly. And bedtime comes awfully quickly after dinner at our house. My sister bumped in the back door, her arms strung like clotheslines with snow pants, piled high with tiny backpacks stuffed full of the kids’ current favorite things and a bucket of popcorn from that afternoon’s Frozen 2 showing. She made a second trip and appeared with a vat of one of my favorites — my mom’s homemade pea soup, still warm, and a container filled with five Memamade cream puffs. Dinner and dessert.


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All of those years, all of those Mondays, my mom and my sister have taken my three wild children and tamed them for ‘Mema and Susie Day.’ So not only do they mother my children, but they also mother the mother. These moments are much-appreciated, hugely welcome ports in my storm. They’re my safe place to hide for a few minutes and sigh with relief — every Monday for seven years or every time I send a panicked text about how I cannot possibly do it all. I don’t do it all. I have them. Katie Dohman is currently living in the midst of a full-house renovation with her three kids, two pets and one husband. Follow her adventures at instagram.com/dohmicile.

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mnparent.com • February 2020


Mary Rose and Laura NANA & MAMA

Doing daycare NANA When my daughter announced that her family would be moving back to Minneapolis from Denver, I contemplated the possibility of doing daycare one day a week for our two young grandkids. The theme song that best represents what it took to make that happen is It Don’t Come Easy by Ringo Starr. The easiest part was getting my daughter to agree. She saw the numerous benefits to the proposed arrangement, but first had to make sure her chosen daycare provider would be flexible. Once that was settled, my daughter and I started hashing out the specifics. I wanted more time at my home. And since both she and her wife work from their home, we settled on my house for the daycare location. But since it’s a little more than a half-hour drive, we agreed to split the driving: She’d drop them off in the morning and I’d drive them home at the end of the day. Battling rush hour with two little ones wouldn’t be fun. It don’t come easy. Next I discussed the proposed arrangement with my husband, and said the magic words to win his support: “You will lose no money in this deal if I get my way at work.” I would propose four 10-hour days to keep my current salary. I knew they’d be long days and I’d miss out on time with my husband at night. And you know it don’t come easy. Now it was time to pitch the new schedule to my boss — four 10-hour days with every Wednesday off. I described the plan as a pilot program, and said we could reassess after a few months. She gave the green light, but added a new assignment to my duties: Clean out the office shared drive. Yuck!


February 2020 • mnparent.com

I also told my co-worker, who would be carrying the workload in my absence, that I’d be willing to stay late every Friday to pay her back for covering my Wednesdays. You know it don’t come easy. After stocking up on young-child necessities such as diapers, wipes, extra clothes, electrical outlet covers, baby food and toys, I was ready; and so we began the Wednesday daycare schedule. No sooner had we started, when up popped a Wednesday work conflict, followed by another conflict created by my vacation. With a bit of hustle, we arranged substitutes who did not come easy or cheap. Then, after several months of the pilot program, it was time for my manager and me to reassess. The theme song that best describes the outcome is, unfortunately, You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones. After two intense discussions, I came away with only every other Wednesday off, and wasn’t given the option to work four 10s moving forward. Since this new arrangement would involve a slight pay cut, I had to renegotiate with my husband. While he wasn’t thrilled, he still agreed to the revised plan, as he understood how much joy these Wednesdays with the kids brought me. Putting the daycare plan in place for my two grandchildren did not come easy, but the payoff of getting to spend more time with them has been worth the effort.

MAMA When our family moved back to Minnesota we were all eager to have more time together — especially for my kids and my parents, Nana and Papa. Nana pitched the idea of watching them one day a week, which sounded like a great balance: They’d still get lots of socialization with other kids at the daycare center we’d picked out, and they’d get quality time with Nana as well. Whenever I’d heard friends talking about having their parents provide care for their kids, I always thought those families had it so easy. I would’ve loved having my kids watched by someone I know and trust, to not navigate 12-plus-months-long childcare wait lists and to not have to pay sky-high daycare tuition. I’ve come to realize, however, that navigating family-provided daycare comes with its own set of unique challenges. It requires thorough planning and open communication on both ends to ensure a positive experience for everyone. Overall, the most important question to consider is: Why are you choosing to have

family watch the kids? Is it financial, relational (to give your kids and their grandparents time together), logistical (maybe you can’t find care during the days/ hours you need)? What are your non-negotiables and where can you be flexible? Knowing the answers to these questions and being as honest as possible with your family — without offending — will help ensure everyone is on the same page. After that, there are logistical questions: • Where does the care happen? What days/hours? Is this consistent or will it vary? • Is the care arrangement indefinite or for a shorter period of time? • What will you do if the grandparent has a scheduling conflict? How far in advance do you need to know about such scheduling issues? • What if the weather makes the roads dangerous? • What will you do if someone is sick? Grandparent? Kid(s)? Mildly or severely? • Is the grandparent on board with any specific parenting practices that are important to you (including behavior management, nutrition, etc.)?

Putting the daycare plan in place for my two grandchildren did not come easy, but the payoff of getting to spend more time with them has been worth the effort. • Is the grandparent aware of any changes in safety practices since you were a child (babies sleep on their backs, cribs shouldn’t have blankets or toys until babies are 12 months old, etc.)? • Is the grandparent well enough (physically, mentally) to keep up with young kids? Is there anything you don’t feel comfortable with the grandparent doing with the kids (such as driving)? What if there’s an emergency? • What is the grandparent giving up to be able to provide care? Is this sacrifice reasonable/fair? Are there ways to ease the sacrifice? • Will you compensate the grandparent financially, by helping them in other ways, by providing meals or simply by expressing gratitude regularly? The benefits of having Nana watch the children have FAR outweighed the negatives. Nana is even closer with the kids now and our oldest, Kellan, actually refers to her as his “best friend.” We also get to enjoy dinner as a family (including Papa) each week the kids are with her. I’m so thankful to have the support of our family, and I’m glad we’ve been able to find an arrangement that works well for everyone! Mary Rose Remington, a baby boomer grandmother, and her daughter, Laura Groenjes Mitchell, a millennial mother of two, are documenting their parenting/grandparenting experiences in the Twin Cities. mnparent.com • February 2020


Alexa Simon


Yoga at bedtime? Yes! A

s a kindergarten teacher, I used to have frequent conversations with parents regarding the importance of bedtime routines. Although it’s no secret that sleep is vital for kids’ health, I discovered that many parents were unaware of how crucial the moments leading up to bedtime were. Creating a nightly routine that includes sufficient time for kids to unwind can make all the difference in helping children sleep better. Many adults have already heard the advice: “Shut down electronics one hour before bed.” Some of you may already have a setting on your phone that turns your screen to sleep mode or reminds you to wind down for bed. Although many kids don’t have phones yet, they need ways to unplug before sleeping, too. Yoga practices offer simple and effective ways to help kids calm down and refocus for more restful sleep. Here are five ways to incorporate yoga concepts into your child’s bedtime routine: Read mindfulness stories: There are numerous picture books that incorporate mindfulness, breath and yoga. Reading a book that helps your children become mindful by calming their bodies is a perfect step toward unwinding from a busy

Yoga-themed books and meditation apps for kids, such as Wellbeyond (below) can help children wind down at bedtime.

day. Books such as ABC Yoga by Christian Engel or Good Night Yoga by Mariam Gates are two wonderful options. Many families already read stories at bedtime: Why not try switching out your usual books with a kid’s yoga story instead? Meditate with visualizations: Visualizing is similar to meditating. When a person visualizes, they allow their brain to concentrate on a single idea, which allows their brain-clutter to turn off. Although kids don’t have office work or bills to think about before bedtime, they still worry about things such as homework, friends, gym class or piano lessons (to name a few). There are countless medita-

tion apps adults and kids can use together. Wellbeyond is one that caters to kids — or find more (rated by parents) at commonsensemedia.org. Kids also benefit from listening to visualization stories read by Mom/Dad as a way to meditate. Visualization stories, read in a soothing voice by a person they love and trust, help children picture happy places as they close their eyes. You can read free visualization stories at minnesotakidsyogaco.com/teachingresources or simply Google “visualization stories for kids” and you’ll find several examples to get your family started. Practice breathing: Using your breath to calm your mind is such a powerful tool. Breathing together as a family can be done by having kids count to 4 as they inhale and exhale or by using fun objects such as balloons, feathers or an expandable ball called a Hoberman sphere. Kids love using toys as concrete demonstrations during breathing exercises. (I do it with my students all the time.) Teaching kids to use their breath as a way to calm

down and relax is helpful, not just at bedtime, but throughout their days as well. Yoga in bed: Have your kids try simple yoga poses in their bed! Make sure they practice poses that don’t require standing or balancing — to keep the heart rate low. Poses such as legs up the wall, cat-cow and child’s pose are ideal options for promoting rest and relaxation, much like during a surrender series at the end of a yoga class. Affirmation volleyball: This practice is simply the art of giving compliments to a loved one, with compliments going back and forth. Having a child and a parent practice saying kind statements to each other creates a relationship built on love, respect and positivity. Affirmations recited before bed allow kids to fall asleep thinking about how much they’re loved. Further, the more you tell something to children, the more they believe it! Can you imagine what kind of impact powerful words such as “I am proud of you” could do, especially if your child fell asleep hearing them each night? One of my favorite quotes from the book Positive Parenting by best-selling author Rebecca Eanes is, “Your words sow seeds in your children’s hearts. From those seeds spring up either confidence or uncertainty … worth or worthlessness. … Your words create the beginning of their life stories, and they will carry this story with them always.” Therefore, build confidence, joy and worth in your child’s life. Teach your kids to be strong, patient, creative and mindful. Help them develop a good night’s sleep so they can conquer the world (or at least school the next day)! For more information on kid’s yoga — or to sign your child up for a yoga class — go to minnesotakidsyogaco.com.

p Summer Camens op n tio ra st gi re

Feb. 3

Where animal lovers get involved. Fun, educational animal-themed summer camp Interactions with animals, crafts, games, and more! animalhumanesociety.org/summer-camp

Alexa Simon is a local adult and kid’s yoga teacher and the owner of Minnesota Kid’s Yoga Co. in Minneapolis. She also teaches a mindfulness curriculum to children around the Twin Cities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in special education. mnparent.com • February 2020


Sarah Jackson


STEAK NIGHT Need a stay-at-home Valentine’s Day meal? Splurge on some ribeye or filet. Put the kids to bed early. And get ready to fall in love with this recipe. No grill required — though you do need a cast-iron skillet! 24

February 2020 • mnparent.com

INGREDIENTS 1 cast-iron skillet 1 pound or more ribeye or filet mignon steaks, ideally 1½-inch-thick cuts 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 tablespoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon butter DIRECTIONS Unwrap the steak, pat it dry with paper towels and rub it with oil and salt on all sides. Season the steak with freshly ground pepper and let it come up to room temperature on the counter for 30–60 minutes. (While you wait, you can do your kids’ bedtime routine.) Set the oven to broil at 500–550 degrees and place an oven rack 4–6 inches below the broiler’s heating element. Place the empty skillet under the broiler to preheat, about 20 minutes before you’re ready to cook. Remove the hot skillet from the oven — using potholders — and place it on the cooktop with the heat turned to high. Turn on your kitchen vent — you’ll need it — and sear the steak for no more than 1 minute on each side.

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Transfer the skillet to the oven (using potholders) and broil the steak for 1–2 minutes on each side for rare, 3–4 minutes on each side for medium, more for well done. Note: Cook times apply to a 1½-inch thick steak. Reduce cook times for thinner steaks. Your oven/ kitchen may get a bit smoky at this stage in cooking. Stick with it. Rest the steak on a clean plate. Top with butter and leave it alone, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve with bread and butter (a French baguette warmed in that hot oven) and a side salad. Find a killer balsamicmaple dressing and recipe ideas for greens at mnparent.com/salad. Source: Adapted from How to Cook Perfect Steak in the Oven at thekitchn.com. mnparent.com • February 2020




February 2020 • mnparent.com

designs Grandparent childcare can take many forms. Which one is right for your family? By Carissa Jean Tobin


f you’re considering grandparent childcare, you’re not alone. In the U.S., almost 25% of children younger than 5 are cared for by grandparents regularly while their parents work or attend school. Avni Novotny of Brooklyn Center, a mother of 3-year-old twins, Raina and Bodhi, is grateful that her family is willing to help watch her kids. “Childcare can be so expensive. We have twins — double the cost!” she said. Novotny said her parents and motherin-law have been able to provide care from the time her children were babies. Her mother-in-law signed up to do three days a week and her parents offered to do one day a week. Her husband was able to rearrange his schedule to be home on Mondays, allowing them to work out childcare at no extra cost. Besides being financially helpful, the arrangement gave Novotny peace of mind: “Especially in the beginning, when they were so little, it just felt right that they were with family,” she said. “We knew they were loved and safe.”

Jake Klis of Bloomington, father of Frances, 10 months, echoes these sentiments. He said having his parents watch his daughter relieved some of the financial stress of having a child. “They’re free and not expensive!” he joked. For the first few months, his parents watched his daughter four days a week and his wife was able to be home one day. Klis and his wife, who are both teachers, changed the arrangement slightly later. “Now we use my parents a little less and got my brother-in-law involved, too,” Klis said, adding that his parents would be willing to watch his daughter every day, but he doesn’t want to ask that of them.

Who benefits most?

↑ Marti Erickson poses with four of her five grandchildren in 2013 (top photo); with her granddaughter, Clara, shown at age 3 (middle photo); and with Clara again at age 14, along with her husband, Ron (bottom photo).


February 2020 • mnparent.com

Grandparent-provided childcare isn’t just a lifesaver for working parents. Such an arrangement can be deeply formative for grandparents and grandchildren alike. Developmental psychologist Marti Erickson, co-host of the local podcast Mom Enough and grandmother of five, said it can be an ideal opportunity for children to build attachments to grandparents, which can be a major asset for lifelong health and development. “It’s a privilege to be such an important person in the life of a grandchild — and a benefit to both child and adult to be able to build such a close relationship,” Erickson said. If you’re wondering why grandparents would be willing to spend their days performing the sometimes grueling routine of feed/change/sleep/repeat, just imagine what it’s like from a different point of view. “Being with a young grandchild can be energizing, an opportunity to play, explore, see the world through new eyes,” Erickson said. With her own grandchildren, Erickson has enjoyed taking rambling walks around Lake Harriet and Minnehaha Creek and observing “all the little things we don’t always stop to notice.”

Grandparent care benefits more than just the working parents. The relationship is formative for grandparents and grandchildren alike. Erickson said she cherishes the “opportunity to contribute to the development” of all her grandchildren, while easing “some of the pressure parents experience in this fast-paced world.” Klis and Novotny said there are some extra perks to having their grandparents watch their kids. Novotny’s mother-in-law sometimes watches the kids into the evening — so that Novotny and her husband can go out for date nights. Klis said he enjoys seeing his parents when he picks up his daughter at the end of the day. “They’re constantly giving me food,” he said. “That’s a perk.”

Making arrangements Setting up grandparent childcare takes some planning. Is one parent able to reduce their workload or flex a day of work? Of the remaining days, how many sets of grandparents want to be involved? Do you want to add in some other form of childcare? How long will the arrangement last? Klis and his wife have a spreadsheet where they track each day’s plans. They give everyone involved copies and find substitutes when needed. Another consideration for grandparents is how a childcare commitment can affect their lifestyle. Many grandparents who have enough flexibility to provide childcare for their grandchildren are retired. Erickson recommends grandparents consider how other responsibilities or activities could

interfere with their ability to be consistently available to provide care. Klis said he and his wife really thought about how doing childcare would affect his parents as first-time grandparents. “We want them to be able to say no if they can’t do it,” Klis said. His parents schedule their travel around their granddaughter’s care. If they need a day off, they plan it in advance and Klis updates the family’s care spreadsheet and looks for backup care. Childcare arrangements change over time, so a family might consider setting a date when they’ll reassess any arrangement based on the ages of the children and everyone’s careers, health, finances and comfort level. Similar to the Klis family, the Novotny family’s arrangement has morphed over the years. Her 3-year-olds are now in daycare two days a week and with her mother-in-law two days.

Who’s in charge? Before grandparents enter into a childcare arrangement, they should consider how compatible they are with the child’s parents in terms of childrearing practices, nutritional standards and general values and beliefs, Erickson said. Potential areas of conflict could include behavioral expectations, disciplinary strategies and nutritional choices. “It’s crucial the grandparents realize parents are in the driver’s seat on these things,” Erickson said. “Clarify ahead of time the big values and issues that matter most to the parents and agree on a common way to handle those,” she said. “Present a united front to the kids so they are not tempted to play one set of adults off of the other. Remember that parents have the final say, especially on the big things.” It can be awkward for some adult children to have an open conversation when they’re worried about offending their parents — on parenting topics, of all things.

Klis said that, in the beginning, it was hard for both him and his wife to tell his parents want they wanted. After all, the grandparents raised children of their own successfully. Klis tries to balance the fact that his parents know what they’re doing with the idea that he and his wife may want something slightly different. If parents question a choice a grandparent has made, they’re caught in a difficult situation because they want to be respectful, Novotny said. “They’re doing you a favor, so you don’t want to be ungrateful,” she added. “It’s a tricky thing to balance.” One example of something that’s changed over the years is water consumption for babies. Pediatricians now recommend babies don’t have any water until they’re 6 months old. Grandparents, who gave their babies water at an earlier age with no ill effects, may find this new recommendation bizarre. Other issues that could arise include sweets, screen time (such as the TV being on in the background all day) and the child’s nap/sleep/eating schedule. “Without open communication,” Erickson said, “relationships can become tense and children may be caught in the middle.” Her recommendation for these potentially difficult conversations? Listen and gather more information. “When there are disagreements, listen, listen, listen. And be willing to learn together, reaching out to credible sources for information on child development and effective parenting — so you all are figuring out together how to support the children’s healthy development,” she said.

A hybrid approach Our mother-daughter duo, Nana & Mama, created a grandparent daycare arrangement that works for everyone, even Nana’s employer. See their story on Page 20 of this issue.

↑ Ten-month-old Frances hangs out with her grandfather Paul Klis, who along with his wife, watches Frances three days a week.

↑ Three-year-old twins Bodhi and Raina Novotny love going to their grandparents’ house. There they can enjoy banana bread, which they call “ba-ba,” made by their grandma Cindy (above). They also get to watch Cupcake & Dino, a Netflix series they don’t get at home, with their grandfather, Pawan (above).

There’s a reason parenting is primarily done by the young.


— Zol Heyman of Arden Hills, who is not providing full-time care to his grandchildren

PARENTS Finances: What are your options? What can you afford? Flexibility: Can either parent change their work schedule? Who else can pitch in? Communication: Before entering into a childcare arrangement, be sure to talk about all the specifics that might come up — and then continue to monitor and discuss month by month. Logistics: Whose house will the kids be at and who will commute? Grandparents will need a childproofed environment and some kid equipment. What’s your backup plan? What happens if the grandparents need a day off or get sick? Time frame: When will you reevaluate the arrangement? Compensation: You’re likely not going to pay grandparents market rate for childcare, but is there something you can provide, such as a stipend, gas money or some other form of trade? GRANDPARENTS Are you prepared for the physical and mental challenge of spending your days with a little one? Do you want this commitment? Will this limit your freedom for travel and other healthy retirement activities? Can you provide consistent care? Many working families won’t have much flexibility in their work schedules. Is a smaller role right for you? Families also benefit from care on weekends, evenings, sick days and numerous non-school days. Do you agree with the parents’ choices? You’ll often have to defer to them even if these practices differ from the way you raised your own children. Your time is valuable. Do you wish to be compensated for your consistent contributions to the family? How would you feel accepting a monthly/weekly stipend, gas money or some other token of trade? 30

February 2020 • mnparent.com

What about compensation? Should grandparents be paid for their contributions? That definitely depends on the grandparents. Some are emphatically against any form of payment and will say they would never accept payment to spend time with their grandchildren. They find the very idea insulting. Others, however, may feel taken advantage of without some form of trade or compensation, especially those providing full-time childcare or care for multiple children. Be prepared to have an open and honest conversation before the arrangements are made and then leave the door open to adjustments to reevaluate what feels fair. Factors to consider include the amount of care per week, the financial situation of all parties involved and the day-to-day feelings of parents and grandparents. Also, if the money is reported as a childcare expense or income, it may affect the income tax returns of both parties.

A happy medium Grandparent childcare, of course, isn’t for all families. While providing care for little ones can bring joy and meaning to a grandparent’s life, there’s another factor to consider: “Babies and toddlers are exhausting!” Novotny said. “They run around and require lots of attention. Are the grandparents physically able to chase after kids?” Klis said doing care full-time, five days a week “might be a bit much, for anyone of any age.” Even if it starts out fine, burnout can occur over time. Erickson said grandparents should make sure their own health and energy levels will be compatible with this responsibility. Zol Heyman of Arden Hills — grandfather to Caroline, 5, Leon, 3, and Ari, 8 months — said he and his wife never even considered caring for their grandchildren in lieu of childcare. “We were extremely lucky that our children were in a great position to handle the financial pain of nannying and daycare,” he said. “Had there been exceptional circumstances — because of finances or medical needs — the choice might have been different.” Heyman doesn’t want to commute to his children’s houses, which many grandparents do. Mostly, though, Heyman said, “I have a life. I’ve been lucky to be able to retire and enjoy my time and not be constrained by anybody else’s schedule.” Heyman feels lucky to live in the same city as his grandchildren and enjoys a close relationship with them. Every Tuesday evening he and his wife care for their three grandchildren so that Heyman’s grown daughters and their partners can participate in childfree activities such as soccer club. “We’re always available on short notice if one gets sick and has to stay home

from daycare,” he said. The Heymans also take their grandchildren to the aquarium, bring them to shows at the children’s theater and host them for sleepovers at their house. For Heyman and his family, this was the right decision and there are benefits for all involved. “The biggest is that we’re not exhausted. I’m almost 70, my wife is 68, and it’s much tougher physically on us. There’s a reason parenting is primarily done by the young,” he said. “For them, they don’t have to listen to our extremely wise, but unwanted, advice all the time.” Another bonus, according to Heyman: “The grandkids get a lot out of daycare in the right setting. Our kids are lucky: They both used the same great daycare, so the grandkid cousins have interaction every day.”


Part of the team Though the context in which grandchildren get to know their grandparents may differ dramatically from family to family, one thing is clear: If your children are lucky enough to develop healthy relationships with their grandparents, it’s a win. If you do take advantage of grandparent childcare, enjoy the benefits for you, your parents and your children. If not, that’s OK, too: Choosing another option doesn’t mean that the bonds between grandparents and grandchildren won’t be strong. Erickson said: “With open, respectful communication, parents and grandparents clearly become part of the same team, working to raise happy, responsible, caring, curious children.” Carissa Jean Tobin is an elementary Spanish teacher, parent of a toddler and blogger living in Northeast Minneapolis. Her family is the grateful recipient of regular childcare from two sets of grandparents. See what’s amusing in her life at goodworkgreatlife.com. Trollhaugen Ski Area MNP 0220 2-3page.indd 1

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mnparent.com • February 2020


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een tryouts are more stressful than watching any youth tournament. At a recent tryout event for a Junior Olympic volleyball club, I saw elated faces and relief hugs among teens and parents. This was after the first of four teams of girls were dismissed from the courts. I also saw the anguish of parents still waiting. Some appeared so stressed they were wringing their hands and saying they couldn’t handle another minute of waiting. I wasn’t worried. “Whatever happens, happens. We can deal with it,” I told a friend, thinking that my kid would make at least one of four levels. And even if it was the bottom rung, we were still in for a season of sports.

mnparent.com • February 2020


← Team huddles are special because they build team spirit at the start and end of games and during time-outs. Photos by Judith Brenner

Getting the news We were all there with one goal in mind: See our teens get on a roster. Selection meant that “golden ticket” to the training at team practices and the experience of tournament competition. This would be where our young athletes would learn strategy, build up physical endurance, gain confidence, take risks and get boosts of self-esteem. They’d learn to trust and lead others. The last wave of teens was dismissed. At first, I didn’t see my daughter among the buzzing crowd. She wasn’t with the burst of smiling girls waving the roster paperwork, beckoning parents to the back of the gym to put down their deposit checks. There was a lull. Not a good sign. Then I saw her, head high, drinking from her water bottle with disappointment in her gaze. She nodded, and I smiled, reassuringly. A parent can read their kid’s expressions. Her feet bypassed me, darting through the crowd toward the restrooms where I assume she blinked back tears and blew her nose behind a stall door. I was unsettled, in disbelief. Benched! No, worse: Cut! Where is your resolve now, Miss Whatever Happens, Happens? I had to dig it out quickly.

Facing the decision, publicly It’s painful to watch your child get cut. My heart sank. I just assumed she’d make a team, especially after five years in competitive volleyball. I’d seen the tears and hugs in team waiting rooms before. I inhaled deeply to reset my emotions, and tried to become a stoic pillar on which she could lean. I wanted to appear empathetic, but brave. As she came up to me, I hoped she’d feel my magnetic pull to bring her toward recovery — or at least pick up a feeling that everything would be OK. We both acted strong, and casually brushed off her status, answering questions through the crowd as familiar faces inquired, “How did you do?”


February 2020 • mnparent.com

“Turned down,” we said publicly, and offered congratulations to the teens who made the teams. We hung around to assess options. Then, cutting our losses at this club, we opened the doors to exit the humid gym. The contrast of bright sunlight stung our eyes. I wanted to talk some sense into the sun.

Talking through it In the car, I listened. I thought it best that we spend some time analyzing things, not bashing the process. She had competed with more than 90 teens who had showed up for 40 spots. She explained that she knew she missed a pass when evaluators were watching. She said even with her strong serves, blocks and passes, with so many players, there were too few chances to touch the ball. Every action counted, and when she did perform well, the evaluators, it seemed, weren’t looking. It wasn’t a matter of endurance. Even though the tryouts took longer than two hours, she wasn’t winded. “It’s beyond your control,” I said. “You did your best and I’m proud of you.” In the Twin Cities, there are other options: Secondary clubs hold tryouts later in the day to recruit those cut by popular top-tier clubs in the morning. We knew we had to decide this quickly. There was a stigma to shake off.

Listening, processing Back at home, we sat at the dining table, decompressing. Hugs seemed to be the best remedy, as my words didn’t bring relief. Still, I tried to reinforce my support, reiterating: “That was courageous to take the risk and try out at a top competitive club.” The texts and tweets of her friends and their results at different clubs joined our table conversation virtually. The healing came from comradery. We weren’t the only ones. We each retreated to freshen up. When she emerged, I saw a hint of puffy eyelids. I told her it’s OK to cry, to be mad, and I saw she already knew this. In the hours after the tryouts, she shook off the defeat, gleefully talking about an upcoming high school dance. But then, later, a delayed reaction surfaced. The Tryout Blues snuck back in and I saw her eyes were puffy again. The emotional healing process continued with an internalized demeanor, and then physical reports of a headache, a stomach ache and stepped-up roughhousing with a sibling. All of this was a normal reaction to the anguish of the disappointment.

Wallowing, just a bit I recounted the tough odds, and my mind drifted to secret regret and wonder. Perhaps I should’ve encouraged her to choose a less competitive club where the odds were slightly more in her favor?

But then I stopped my mind from playing that rewind tape and tried not to look back. Then I worried the experience would trigger a new identity. As individuals, we all identify ourselves with our accomplishments. It makes us who we are — where we work, where we play and how well we do both. My teen always beamed when answering questions about her sport. Now she seemed to talk more about her other talents. I stopped myself from worrying what her rebound identity might be. I made a conscious effort to not project my Tryout Blues onto my teen, which would exacerbate the issue. However, secretly, those first 12 hours delivered a tough disappointment that I felt in my gut. I kept thinking about how lucky the team would’ve been to have her. They missed out on her athletic dedication — never late, always warmed up and ready to play. I knew they’d miss out on her leadership contributions and contagious team spirit. She could always help players shake off any lost points. I could always read her lips from the bleachers saying, “Come on, we can do this!” I knew I’d miss the team parents I’d spent hours with during the last few seasons. Wallowing in this thought, my Tryout Blues hit hard.

Our children’s self-worth gets tested at youth sports tryouts. Life lessons come from the rebounds after disappointment. Parenthood is about letting our kids choose their own rebound path with loving support.

Rebounding: Her way But I couldn’t let myself wallow for long. I suddenly realized we’d have free time coming up with no commitments. “Is there another winter sport of interest?” I asked my teen. “You now could take on those babysitting jobs, since you’ll have open weekends,” I suggested. While we had planned our calendars to allow for 18 hours a week for practices and weekend tournaments, now there seemed to be a large gap of time to fill in other meaningful ways. What an opportunity! Plus, there was that cost — $2,500– $3,000 for a regional team club placement. Now extra funds in our budget could be put toward some other sport or maybe a spring break vacation! I stopped myself from offering her too much guidance. I tried to keep things factual, not emotional. Together, we composed emails to directors at other clubs we considered, and heard back that they were already full, except for one club known to take cut players. Then, I let go. I had to let my daughter figure this out — herself. I knew her self-esteem didn’t solely come from her chosen sport. She had many talents to channel elsewhere. I shook off the Tryout Blues, knowing there would be another chapter, and I went to sleep that night in suspense of what was to be the next big thing. Que sera, sera, whatever she decided I would respect. The next day, my daughter announced that she and a friend needed a ride to tryouts at the volleyball club known for taking players who didn’t pass muster elsewhere. They both were selected for a regional team. She was satisfied, saying, “At least I get to play this season.” “Yes, you do!” I said with a hug. Our children’s self-worth gets tested at youth sports tryouts. Life lessons come from the rebounds after disappointments. Parenthood is about letting our kids

↑ Jessica Brenner, 15, wears a neon jersey — denoting her status as a “libero” player specializing in defensive skills.

choose their own rebound path with loving support. I was thrilled it was her decision, and I was glad I hadn’t spent the deposit just yet!

Fast forward to today Update: When I first wrote the above story, my daughter was 15 years old. Looking back with a now-19-year-old, I know she learned a lot from the disappointment. Full disclosure: That club she joined as a consolation was frustrating. Joining a club just to belong and play the sport wasn’t a good fit. The upside? That spring, at age 16, she applied her knowledge of the game to becoming a volunteer assistant coach to a fourth-grade team. At age 17, she was hired as a head volleyball coach for a young club team in Edina. Next? Her youth-coaching experience helped her win a scholarship at Emory University in Atlanta. She may try intramural volleyball at college, or she may not. As for me, I’ve learned to let go, trusting that opportunities will abound, despite disappointments! Judith Brenner resides in Edina with her spouse and two teen daughters (one away at college). Her upcoming novel, Wheels to Liberty, empowers women facing domestic abuse. She owns creativelakesmedia.com, a freelance business. mnparent.com • February 2020


Out Out Out of sync Putting your twins on the same sleep schedule might work. But for me it definitely didn’t! BY MARISSA BADER


hen my twins first arrived, I was hell-bent on keeping them on the same schedule. After all, that was the sage advice everyone with multiples gave me — one up, both up; one down, both down. So I tried. Believe me when I tell you how very hard I tried. I desperately wanted this to work, not just because I’m an advice- and rulefollower, but also because I knew it would make my days easier. If both babies were up and being fed at the same time, then I wouldn’t be spending every single hour, feeding, waking and soothing each child one at a time. Sometimes this plan worked. And on those days I was punch-drunk giddy. But most days, regardless of my desperate pleas to my baby girls to wake and sleep at the same time, they simply refused. I cried. Hard. I felt like a total and utter twin-parent failure. This was, after all, THE thing I was


February 2020 • mnparent.com

supposed to do. Parents of multiples told me so; all the books told me so. How then could I not get this right? On rougher days of little sleep and loads of crying (by the kids and me), I blamed the twins for sabotaging our ability to get on a solid and synchronized routine. On saner days (there weren’t many), I began to realize that though they’re twins, my two babies were just that — two very different and unique babies with individual sets of needs.

Fraternal verses identical In his book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins, Dr. Marc Weissbluth explains that fraternal twins, which my twins are, can have a more difficult time matching their schedules than identical twins. This made perfect sense to me. Just as my brothers, sister and I are all unique human beings — who certainly don’t eat and sleep at the same times every single day — so too are my twins.

Twin A is more similar to my 4-yearold than she is to her twin. Just because they simultaneously shared my womb and a birthday doesn’t necessarily mean they’re alike. They are, in fact, very different. Twin A is assertive and knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. Twin B is more passive, quiet and sensitive. They’re so dissimilar that, at times, I’m shocked that they’re even related. As the months of their first year rolled on, I continued to try to synchronize their schedules. Gradually, they started to nap and eat roughly around the same times, but truly, every day was still kind of a crap shoot. The difference was, I stopped stressing so much about them not being in sync. In addition to reminding myself often that they’re special little girls with their own needs and agendas, I started to view their staggered schedules as somewhat of a blessing. Why? Because it allowed me

Fraternal twins Mila and Grace (left, at 1 week old) rarely slept at the same time. At 5 months old (above), they tried out Mommy and Daddy’s bed, but clearly didn’t want to go to sleep.

In his book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins, Dr. Marc Weissbluth explains that fraternal twins, which my twins are, can have a more difficult time matching their schedules than identical twins.

something exceptionally precious — something that parents of multiples don’t often get — one-on-one time with each child. When one was awake while the other was sleeping, I no longer felt defeated or angry that I wasn’t able to enjoy a break in my day. Rather, my heart swelled with joy that I could play and bond with just one baby at a time. To other parents of multiples, I say this: Don’t fret too much if, like me, you’re unable to always follow the “one up, both up; one down, both down” rule — or any “rule” for that matter! It’s just not always feasible, and it certainly doesn’t make you a failure if it doesn’t work out.

Two years later An update: I wrote the above back in 2017 when my twins were itty bitty. Now the

↑ Grace (Twin B), Harper and Mila (Twin A) enjoy a vacation with their parents, Robb and Marissa Bader, on Captiva Island in Florida.

girls are just shy of 4 (!!!), and my one-onone time with them is even more precious to me than it was back then. Twin A actually dropped her nap when she was 2½, while Twin B would take marathon afternoon naps. This afforded me so much quality time with A — time playing games, doing puzzles, playing Barbies — that I never would’ve had otherwise. And then, because Twin A didn’t nap, I’d put her to bed slightly earlier than her sister, and nab some quality one-on-one time with Twin B. As of last month, neither of them nap anymore (waaaahhh!), and it’s definitely difficult. I miss that special time with each kiddo. But the upside is that now we get to enjoy many more activities together — as a family — as well as the two of them playing more with each other.

Their bond has grown exponentially, and it’s really beautiful to see. And even better? We’re making memories — lots and lots of them. Sure, some of them are tantrum-filled, but they’re memories nonetheless. So I suppose the moral is this: All the advice and books are extremely wellmeaning, and often very helpful. But if something doesn’t work for you, don’t angst about it or try to force it into fruition. It is what it is, and your routine will emerge. Trust me. And in the meantime, find enjoyment where you can, and let the rest go. Marissa Bader resides in Minneapolis with her husband and their three daughters (twins and their adoring big sis). When she’s not kissing owies, playing dressup or mediating sister squabbles, she serves as the twins editor at Lucie’s List: A Survival Guide for Parents at lucieslist.com. mnparent.com • February 2020



Academic Camp Invention

Unmask your child’s creativity this summer in the all-new Camp Invention® program, Supercharged™, where children transform their wild imaginations into epic creations. Campers in grades K–6 will code robots and use collaboration and creative problem solving during hands-on, STEM activities. Use promo code INNOVATE25L to save $25 (expires 3/22) or PLAY15LISTING to save $15 (expires 5/10). Multiple locations • 800-968-4332 invent.org/camp

Friends School of Minnesota Summer Camp at Friends School of Minnesota is a four-week, full-day, multicamp program that allows children to play and learn at the same time. Camps can range from Bike & Soccer to Crafts & Harry Potter and more! St. Paul • 651-917-0636 fsmn.org

Hill-Murray School There is something for everyone at HillMurray School this summer, grades 2–12! Samples of our Academic offerings include: Virtual Reality, Intro to Coding, Intro to Aviation, Jump Start & Study Skills, Summer Slide Math & Reading, ACT Prep, Driver’s Ed. Register today—space is limited! Maplewood • 651-777-1376 hill-murray.org/summer

Junior Achievement Campers will discover what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and business owner, and learn about STEM careers. Held at JA BizTown, our state-of-the-art experiential learning lab in St. Paul. June and July sessions for students in grades 4–8. St. Paul • 651-255-0455 jaum.org/ja-summer-camps

Summer Programs at Groves Academy Groves Academy offers summer programs for students entering grades 2–11 from the community with learning and attention challenges. Taught by Groves trained teachers, our small class sizes and specialized instruction build success and confidence. Both academic and enrichment programs are available. St. Louis Park • 952-920-6377 grovesacademy.org

The Works Museum Engineering & design camps for kids in pre-K-grade 7. Coding, LEGO engineering, robotics, carpentry, design, architecture, and

more! Half- and full-day camps. June-August 2020. The Works Museum: inspiring the next generation of innovators, engineers, and creative problem solvers. Bloomington • 952-888-4262 theworks.org

and half-day options, $155-$330. New customers - receive $10 discount when registering for your first camp! Use code MNParentSummer2020 at our website. Minneapolis • 612-729-5151 articulture.org

Zoo Camp


Minnesota Zoo offers half-day to weeklong adventures for toddlers–12th graders (and adults!) to meet animals, make new friends, and have fun learning about the natural world. Check out our popular Horse Camps and our amazing Llama Camps for grades 1–12!

Week-long creative day camps for grades 1-9! Artistry campers will explore art forms including pottery, fused glass, drawing, painting, mixed media, aerosol art, mosaics, fiber arts, indie crafts, and more! $145–$175/ half-day camps. Combine for full-day experience. Scholarships available.

Apple Valley • 952-431-9390 mnzoo.org/zoocamp


Adventures in Cardboard Mythic Play in Summer Wildlands! Be initiated into an esteemed House of The Realm and jump into live-action adventure gaming! Build your own armor, create castles to defend your land, battle on trails, fields and shorelines! Swords, bows, catapults, magic and monsters! Full days spent in beautiful parks across the metro region. Monday–Friday, ages 8–16 and several TEEN ONLY weeks! June 8–August 21. Minneapolis adventuresincardboard.com

The Art Academy Give your child the opportunity to explore their creative side and develop their skills by illustrating their own children's book and learning the principles of drawing and painting at the Art Academy's Summer Camp program. Classes and camps, with exceptional student/teacher ratios, are available for students ages 5–18. St. Paul • 651-699-1573 theartacademy.net

Art Camps at Studio Seven One week painting and drawing camps for students ages 7–18. Compositional elements will be explored through landscape and figure studies. Students will paint and draw both in the studio and outside. Trips to galleries and museums included. Camps are Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. $595 per week, all materials included. Minneapolis • 612-376-0381 kahlowcurtis@gmail.com studio7artmn.com

Articulture Art Camps Articulture art camps emphasize personal creativity in a fun and educational way. Themes include art and science, hands on art history, animation, and more! June 8-September 4, ages 4 and up, full-day

Bloomington • 952-563-8575 artistrymn.org/summer-camps

Hill-Murray School There is something for everyone at HillMurray School this summer, grades 2–12! Samples of our Arts/Activities offerings include: exploring visual arts through Painting, Creative Artwork, or Drawing Bootcamp, explore art through Digital Photography, Film & Visual Storytelling, or Virtual Reality. Register today—space is limited! Maplewood • 651-777-1376 hill-murray.org/summer

Kidcreate Studio Kidcreate’s award winning summer camps are designed to inspire and educate young artists, ages 3 to 12, in an environment where giggles and grins are encouraged. Camps combine art education with an atmosphere full of fun. This summer’s camps include; Baby Mystical Creatures, L.O.L. Surprise Dolls, LEGO Brick Mania, Marvelous Marvels, Masters on Canvas, Mega Mess Making, Mermaid Magic, Olaf and Friends, Slimetastic, The How To’s of Drawing, and more! Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate! Eden Prairie • 952-974-3438 Savage • 952-226-2200 Woodbury • 651-735-0880 kidcreatestudio.com

The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program offers numerous classes throughout the summer that foster creativity, enrich talents, and create friendships. Classes run for ages 6–17 at all skill levels. Minneapolis • 612-215-2575 loft.org

Minneapolis College of Art and Design Join the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a series of innovative, handson, and engaging visual art and design camps and classes for kids and teens ages 6–18! Weeklong and multi-week options. Scholarships available.


February 2020 • mnparent.com



Minneapolis • 612-874-3765 mcad.edu/youth

Textile Center Explore the vibrant world of fiber art and creativity! Create a handmade hammock to lounge in, needle felt a fiber creature, sew a quilt to enter in the Fair, or dye pajamas for your next slumber party! Ages 6 and up.



Shell Lake Arts Center With programs in jazz, rock band, show choir, art, theater, film, and more, the Shell Lake Arts Center is like nowhere else! Just two hours northeast of the Twin Cities in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. Come join us for the experience of a lifetime!

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Excite and challenge

Shell Lake • 715-468-2414 shelllakeartscenter.org

YMCA Y Camps are about discovery. Kids, teenagers and adults have the opportunity to explore nature, find new talents, try new activities, gain independence, and make lasting friendships and memories. Day, Overnight, Teen Wilderness & Family Camps throughout MN and Western WI. 612-822-2267 ymcacamps.org

Dance Music Performance Ballet Co.Laboratory

Ballet Co.Laboratory is a professional ballet School and Company offering ballet classes and performances to the Twin Cities community. Ballet Co.Laboratory honors the roots of classical ballet while making strides to break down barriers found in the artform by collaborating with our community in surprising ways to challenge the stereotypes and culture of ballet—evolving the artform forward. St. Paul • 303-249-1039 balletcolaboratory.org

Boychoir Bootcamp August 3-7, 8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m. Boychoir Bootcamp is a weeklong day camp for boys, ages 6-12 sponsored by the Minnesota Boychoir. While focusing on choral singing, campers also participate in activities such as body percussion, music theory, drumming, and the science of sound, as well as plenty of outdoor fun and games. $100, scholarships available. 651-292-3219 boychoir.org

mnparent.com • February 2020


No New rth O & ffice Ea st Ms in etr o!

Hey Mama, You Matter! We offer: Individual & Couples Therapy Emotional Coping Skills Groups Pregnancy • Birthing Issues Postpartum Attachment • Trauma Parenting (0–30yrs) • Infertility Changing Roles • Work-Family Balance Pregnancy & Infant Loss

Postpartum Counseling Center


Metro Locations Locations 1010Metro Mostinsurance insurance accepted most accepted

CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS Circus Juventas Travel the globe from Canada to Russia without ever leaving our big top! Explore a vast array of international circus arts in our half- and full-day Sampler, weeklong Performance and Teen High Flying Adventure Camps. Reserve your spot today in one of the most unique summer experiences anywhere! St. Paul • 651-699-8229 circusjuventas.org

Hill-Murray School There is something for everyone at HillMurray School this summer, grades 2–12! Samples of our Arts/Activities offerings include: Summer Pops Orchestra, Summer Band, Theatre Camp, Film & Visual Storytelling, Radio Broadcasting, Digital Photography. Register today—space is limited! Maplewood • 651-777-1376 hill-murray.org/summer

Lyric Arts Company of Anoka Lyric Arts provides access to fun and exciting creative educational experiences in a professional theater environment that nurtures young artists. We offer a safe and supportive environment that welcomes young people of all levels of experience. Anoka • 763-422-1838 lyricarts.org

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O’Shea Irish Dance Classes Director Cormac O’Se, original member of Riverdance. Professional Irish Dance training for preschoolers through adults; for competition, for fun, and for fitness! Weekly Classes: Mondays–Saturdays. Beginners Classes registering now! Summer camps June, July, August. St. Paul • 612-722-7000 osheairishdance.com

St. Paul Ballet Summer is a great time to try dance! This nonprofit, community and pre-professional dance school offers Dance Camps for ages 2–8, drop-in Creative Dance for ages 4–6, Intro to Ballet for ages 7–12, and Summer Intensive sessions for the serious ballet student ages 10–22. Gymnasts, skaters and athletes may supplement their training. All income levels and abilities welcome! St. Paul • 651-690-1588 spballet.org

University of Nothwestern-St. Paul, Academy of Music Whatever the age or musical ability of your child, UNW Academy of Music has a summer camp to excite and challenge them on their musical journey. 4–8 yr olds: Intro to Music. 9–16 yr olds: Show Choir Camp. 13–18 yr olds

who love piano, singing and/or playing an instrument have select camps just for them! 651-631-5108 unwsp.edu/academyofmusic


Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Awarded "Best Day Camp" by Nickelodeon’s Parent’s Picks. Camp Como enhances your child’s appreciation for the natural world with enthusiastic instructors, zookeepers and gardeners, and behind-the-scenes adventures. Campers will get closer to plants and animals than ever before. Preschool through 8th grade. St. Paul • 651-487-8201 comozooconservatory.org

Gibbs Farm Day Camps Are you ready for an adventure? Gibbs Farm is a historic site located in Falcon Heights, just outside of St. Paul. This eight-acre site is run by Ramsey County Historical Society. Gibbs Farm preserves and shares Minnesota history focusing on both pioneer and Dakota life in the mid-1800s. We use historic and replica buildings, a restored prairie, farm animals, and costumed interpreters in our programs to bring history to life. Camps are offered from June 16th–Aug. 28th. Ages 4-5: Explore with Pioneer PeeWees mini-camps on Wednesdays & Fridays. $22/Day. Ages 6-10: Travel back in time with our three-day camps (Pioneer Kid, Life of a Gibbs Girl, and Dakota Camp). $110/Week. Ages 11-15: Dive into history with Victorian Ladies and Pioneer Survivor camp. $165/Week Falcon Heights • 651-646-8629 rchs.com

Hill-Murray School There is something for everyone at HillMurray School this summer, grades 2–12! Hill-Murray School offers opportunities for you to fill your child’s day throughout the entire summer; June, July & August! We have opportunities to enjoy Academic, Arts/ Activities and Athletic Camps. Our offerings engage students of all ages and skill sets. Register today—space is limited! Maplewood • 651-777-1376 hill-murray.org/summer

Life of a Gibbs Girl Experience the differences and similarities between life today and life as a Pioneer, Dakota, and Victorian girl! Campers tour the historic Gibbs farmhouse, explore the restored prairie, and celebrate at a Victorian tea party! Ages 6 –11; Tues., Wed., Thurs. 9am –1pm; July 7–9, Aug. 4–6, Aug. 18–20; $110/Week Falcon Heights • 651-646-8629 rchs.com



February 2020 • mnparent.com

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mnparent.com/camp Minnesota Waldorf School Summer Day Camp Old fashioned summer fun on our 8 acre campus! A relaxed schedule of crafts, nature play, games, music, gardening, and more. Preschool through 6th grade. Flexible weekly scheduling. St. Paul • 651-487-6700 x202 mnwaldorf.org/summercamp

National Summer Transportation Institute Are you interested in learning about science, engineering, and transportation in an interactive, hands-on environment? Through field trips and hearing from industry experts, this free, two-week summer day camp at the University of Minnesota will explore the transportation field. Minneapolis • 612-625-5608 cts.umn.edu/education/prospective/ national-summer-transportation-institute

Playworks Sign up for Playworks Summer Camp, full of learning, adventure, and fun! With loads of field trips, plenty of outdoor activities, and entertaining educational programs, Playworks’ Summer Camp will provide your child with an unforgettable summer. Open to children 6-12 years of age. Daily meals are included. Part-time and full-time options are available. Prior Lake • 952-445-7529 playworksfun.com

Providence Academy Providence Academy’s Summer Activities offer a variety of programs for students age 5 through grade 12. Enjoy activities that promote experiential learning, creative and academic growth, and unique summer experiences. Full day sessions for students age 5 through grade 6. Plymouth • 763-258-2500 providenceacademy.org/summer

School Chess Association Summer Day Chess Camp All levels of chess instruction, professional educators tailored to the student’s individual needs. Fun activities include swimming, water slides, field ball, Magic the Gathering, soccer, tennis, roller skating, bowling, fishing, sign language, and role-playing games. Programs: June 22-25, July 6-9, July 13-16, July 20-23, July 27-30, Aug 3-6, Aug 10-13. St. Louis Park • 763-593-1168 schoolchess.org

Science Museum of Minnesota Science Museum camps combine science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts. Kids can experiment with animation, build

mnparent.com • February 2020


CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS a LEGO tower, explore veterinary science, learn the chemistry of candy, and much more. Both full- and half-day programs are available, and half-day camps can be paired with supervised lunch and before and aftercare to create a full-week experience. St. Paul • 651.221.9444 smm.org/classes

Summer at Blake From robots to art projects and the classroom to the athletic field, Blake challenges students to creatively express themselves in an array of disciplines. Sports, academics, arts and day camps are open to pre–K–12 students throughout the Twin Cities. 952-988-3463 blakeschool.org/summer

Tanadoona | Camp Fire Minnesota Explore Tanadoona’s Big Woods and zig-zag by canoe across Lake Minnewashta! With 103 acres, outdoor adventures are endless with new friends and local and international counselors. ACA accredited. Monthly public events + Open House 5/16 Excelsior • 612-235-7284 tanadoona.org

Totino-Grace High School Totino-Grace High School offers academic, athletic, and performing arts summer camps for grades K-12. Campers will explore new activities, expand current interests, discover talents, and develop emerging skills. Fridley • 763-571-9116 totinograce.org

University of Wisconsin-Stout Summer STEAM Experience invites students in grades 8–12 to explore career paths with UW-Stout faculty experts while in a hands-on setting and to gain the experience of campus life. Day $300, Overnight $450. June 14-18. Menomonie, WI • 715-232-2793 uwstout.edu/steam

Language Casa de Corazon

School-Age Summer Camp! Intercultural Spanish immersion curriculum, organic meals and snacks, field trips, sports, and more. Full time and part time options available. For kids entering grades 1-6 in fall 2020, June 8-September 4, $150-$205 per week. Maple Grove • 763-416-3992 casaearlylearning.com/programs

German Language Camps Kids explore themes including the environment, STEM, cooking & baking, and

arts & crafts, while learning some German. Several weeks of “Intro to German” are also offered. For ages 5 to 13. Half-day, full-day, and extended care are available. St. Paul • 651-222-2979 gai-mn.org


Camp Lincoln for Boys & Camp Lake Hubert for Girls Camp Lincoln for Boys and Camp Lake Hubert for Girls are separate, traditional sleepaway camps that focus on skill and character development for ages 5–17. Off the shores of Lake Hubert, we offer over 40 land, water and adventure activities. Lake Hubert • 800-242-1909 lincoln-lakehubert.com

Camp Olson YMCA Since 1954, Camp Olson has been providing unforgettable and life-changing experiences for youth, young leaders, and their families through quality camping programs. Traditional summer camp available as well as specialty programs in sailing, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, and leadership development. Longville • 218-363-2207 campolson.org

Camp Pillsbury Camp Pillsbury, recently named “coolest camp in Minnesota”, is a unique, safe, fun summer camp, your kids will love! Campers choose their own activities from trapeze, musical theater, sports, magic, gymnastics, dance, rock band, watersports, computers, circus arts, gymnastics, weightlifting, culinary, equestrian, RPG, acting, and so much more. Owatonna • 507-214-2200 CampPillsbury.com

Girl Scouts River Valleys Girl Scouts offers all girls the opportunity to get outside and take the lead. Girls explore nature, horses, water sports, art, power tools, science, and more in an all-girl environment. Older girls can train to become camp counselors or horse wranglers. Family, 4, 6, and 13-day overnight camps are available. Multiple locations • 800-845-0787 Camp.GirlScoutsRV.org

Tanadoona | Camp Fire Minnesota Unroll your sleeping bag in a rustic cabin for an unplugged week with new friends and local and international counselors. 103 acres along Lake Minnewashta, adventure awaits with activities like archery, canoeing, and agility and high/low ropes courses. ACA accredited. Monthly public

events. Open House 5/16. Excelsior • 612-235-7284 tanadoona.org

Wolf Ridge Summer Camp Kids grades 2–12 will find outdoor adventures to match their curiosity at Wolf Ridge. Share nature up-close every day with lifelong friends at our 2000-acre campus near Lake Superior and the BWCA. Learning is the greatest adventure there is! Choose yours at wolf-ridge.org. Finland • 218-353-7414 wolf-ridge.org

Special Needs

Summer Programs at Groves Academy Groves Academy offers summer programs for students entering grades 2–11 from the community with learning and attention challenges. Taught by Groves trained teachers, our small class sizes and specialized instruction build success and confidence. Both academic and enrichment programs are available. St. Louis Park • 952-920-6377 grovesacademy.org


Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) Summer Social Skills Classes AuSM Social Skills summer classes for youth and adults with autism offer low-stress, accepting environments that encourage learning and growth while participants develop social skills and confidence. Classes centered on special interests including the great outdoors, community outings, improv, zoos, art, drama, and more are offered in locations throughout the metro area. St. Paul • 651-647-1083 education@ausm.org ausm.org

Sports and Fitness Buck Hill

Buck Hill offers summer camps for snowboarding, skiing and mountain biking! The outdoors beckon and our hill is open year-round with a wide range of activities for all ages and abilities. Buck Hill is the place to be outside yourself. Burnsville • 952-435-7174 buckhill.com

Hill-Murray School There is something for everyone at HillMurray School this summer, grades 2–12! Samples of our Sports/Fitness offerings


February 2020 • mnparent.com

mnparent.com/camp include: Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, Softball, Volleyball, Soccer— opportunities for students of all ages and skills! Register today—space is limited! Maplewood • 651-777-1376 hill-murray.org/summer

Minneapolis Sailing Center Sailing camps for kids of all ages and abilities on Bde Maka Ska. Two-week camps with half or full-day options are available all summer. More than just learning how to sail, students learn teamwork, self-confidence, STEM principles, and environment stewardship. Minneapolis • 612-470-7245 sailmpls.org

NSC Next Level Sports Camps The National Sports Center provides weeklong camps complete with athlete training in your favorite sport along with world-class facilities, dry-land training, field trips, and more! Our flexible programming allows you to customize your child’s summer experience with sports, fun activities and all-day entertainment. Select one week or more to create the perfect schedule for your family! Blaine • 763-792-7353 nscsports.org/nextlevelcamps

Revolutionary Sports Instruction programs offered daytime, weeknights, and weekends. Kids, as young as AGE TWO, learn to play sports and improve their skills. The family friendly environment encourages parent involvement. Experienced, professional coaches are great with kids and use active, challenging, and non-competitive curriculum to teach sports and life skills. Multiple locations • 612-234-7782 RevolutionarySports.org

Summer Art Camps

TAGS Gymnastics Camps Fun, fitness, friends! Gymnastics and tumbling camps for boys and girls ages 3–17 in June, July, and August. Kids work on fun, new skills while developing strength, flexibility, and coordination in a safe, positive atmosphere!

for ages 5 and up

Apple Valley • 952-431-6445 Eden Prairie • 952-920-5342 tagsgym.com


Twin Cities Youth Rowing Club Are you turning 12–18 this year and want to try rowing? Join us at our Jr/Sr High Summer Rowing Camps! Eden Prairie • 612-760-0575 tcyrc.org

Ryan Sarafolean, Age 14


Think your child can’t draw like this? Think again. Chosen by WCCO “2013 Best Places for Summer Art Activities” | Winner: City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities” Art Academy MNP 0315 H4.indd 1

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mnparent.com • February 2020




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SAVE $50 on registration

Summer Power is your answer to quality care and exciting adventures. We offer flexible 3-, 4-, and 5-day options. No two weeks are alike! Weekly themes and weekly field trips.

Youth will have the opportunity to learn new skills, practice and play new sports. Y Summer Sports is a safe, fun, non-competitive sports program designed to build teamwork, leadership skills and self-esteem.

Uproar provides an exciting combination of spirited adventure and growth. Teens get their first taste of leadership as they help to plan their summer activities and participate in weekly field trips.






Ages 4 - 14 With camps located at 8 accessible sites throughout the metro area, YMCA Day Camps provide a week full of exciting camp activities like canoeing, archery, fishing, camp crafts, cookouts, swimming and more! Day camps facilitate a great introduction to camping in a safe environment. Kids are home each night. Before & After Care and Bus Transportation is available.

Ages 7-17 Campers participate in a wide variety of traditional camp activities or select a specialty camp such as horseback riding, rock climbing, sailing and canoeing. Threeday, one-week or two-week sessions.

CAMP ICAGHOWAN / Lake Wapogasset Ages 7-17 Icaghowan offers traditional camp and a variety of unique specialty camps focused on activities such as horseback riding, and canoeing. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions. CAMP IHDUHAPI / Lake Independence Ages 7-17 Ihduhapi offers youth a traditional experience or specialty camps such as horseback riding and climbing. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions.

CAMP WARREN / Half Moon Lake Ages 7-17 Camp Warren offers girls-only sessions the first part of the summer and boys-only sessions later in the summer. Camp Warren has a strong tradition of progressive activities including sailing, archery, tennis, photography and horseback riding.

All Ages Our family camps offer a totally unique 3-day, 4-day and week long camping experiences for families. Cozy cabins range from rustic to upscale. Tent camping sites are also available. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, nature and arts programs are offered as family activities and for children’s age groups. Relax at days end with a sauna.

TEEN WILDERNESS ADVENTURES CAMP MENOGYN / Gunflint Trail Ages 12-18 There are no roads leading to Menogyn, so all campers cross West Bearskin Lake by boat to arrive at this beautiful wilderness setting. Our focus is on the small group guided wilderness canoeing, backpacking and rock climbing trips that are safe, fun and enriching.

SPECIALTY CAMPS Develop a greater passion for the things you love, or try out something new at one of our YMCA specialty camps! Campers spend approximately 2 hours each day in their specialized activity. The remainder of the day is spent enjoying traditional camp activities.

CAMP WIDJIWAGAN / Burntside Lake, Ely Ages 11-18 Widji offers high-quality canoe and backpacking adventures in the BWCAW and throughout North America. Widji wilderness trips are focused on respect and values that build skills for life and a relationship with the environment that is unparalleled.

SAVE $25


SAVE $15


March 4 - 10

Register online today: ymcamn.org/summer Membership not required. Financial assistance available.


Call for more information: 612-230-9622

Out & About

FEB. 1–MAY 10

Apollo: When We Went to the Moon ⊲ Celebrate all things space in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a new exhibit, Omnitheater film, a display of moon rock and more.


Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography


Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds ⊲ In this production for ages 5 and up, Ziggy’s afraid to leave the house. He’s too busy worrying about tropical storms, evil spirits and a sneaky, hair-grabbing Duppy. But with the help of some feathered friends, Ziggy learns “every little thing is gonna be alright.” When: Through March 1 Cost: Ticket start at $15.

Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Info: childrenstheatre.org


Ice Castles ⊲ Marvel at the wonder of winter by exploring frozen waterfalls, ice caves and more, plus special appearances by the Frozen sisters. When: Jan. 17 through February, weather permitting Where: Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton Cost: $9.99–$12.99 online for weekdays ($18 standby); $11.99– $17.99 online for weekends ($22 standby); free for ages 3 and younger Info: icecastles.com


February 2020 • mnparent.com

JAN. 23–FEB. 2

Saint Paul Winter Carnival ⊲ Check out ice carving, snow sculpting, skiing, dogsledding, a torchlight parade and more at this long-running, multi-faceted festival with more than 75 events. When: Jan. 23–Feb. 2 Where: Landmark Center, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and other locations in St. Paul Cost: Most events are FREE. Info: wintercarnival.com

When: Feb. 1–May 10 Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: $14.95–$19.95 for museum admission; $8.95–$9.95 for Omnitheater admission only; free for ages 3 and younger Info: smm.org


Music Under Glass ⊲ Bask in the warmth and fragrance of the tropical indoor gardens as live, local musicians play blues, bluegrass and ballads. Beer, wine, pop and light snacks will be available for purchase. When: 4:30–6:30 p.m. Sundays Feb. 2–March 1 Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: tinyurl.com/music-under-glass

FEB. 3–MAY 15

Kinder Konzerts in the Hall ⊲ Preschoolers are invited to listen to a narrated story with live music performed by a Minnesota Orchestra ensemble, learn simple music concepts and play with orchestral instruments. When: Feb. 3; March 16, 24; April 10; May 15 Where: Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis Cost: $6 for kids and adults Info: tinyurl.com/kid-konzerts

FEB. 7–23

Jimmy de las Rosas ⊲ In The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas — a play for ages 10 and up — the protagonist is a 13-year-old boy who can move things with his mind.

When: Feb. 7-9, 15–16, 21–23 Where: SteppingStone Theatre, St. Paul Cost: $12–$16 Info: steppingstonetheatre.org

FEB. 8

Tech Fest ⊲ Families can spend the day learning and exploring with dozens of hands-on activities led by real scientists, engineers and educators. When: Feb. 8 Where: The Works, Bloomington Cost: $9 in advance, $12 at the door Info: theworks.org/tech-fest

FEB. 9

Northeast Flannel Fest ⊲ This second-annual event features indoor and outdoor activities, including sledding, snow forts, fire-building, facepainting, family flannel photos, birdhouse building, cookie decorating and crafts. When: Feb. 9 Where: Columbia Manor, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: esns.org/northeast-flannel-fest

FEB. 11–12


⊲ Listen to familiar songs played by the Copper Street Brass ensemble, learn about the science of musical sounds and create a musical craft. When: Feb. 11–12 Where: Schubert Club Museum, St. Paul

Cost: $5 per child, free for accompanying adults and babes-in-arms Info: schubert.org


Ruby: The Story of Ruby Bridges ⊲ With songs inspired by The Shirelles, Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson, this musical explores the true story of a little girl at an elementary school in New Orleans during the civil rights movement. When: Saturdays and Sundays Feb. 14–March 1 Where: Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, Minneapolis Cost: $12–$15 Info: youthperformanceco.org


Tropical Beach Party ⊲ Play your heart out in Minnesota’s largest seasonal indoor sandbox made with 34 tons of sand. Bring your own sand toys. When: Feb. 15–March 8 Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: Included with admission of $12–$18 for ages 3 and up Info: mnzoo.org/tropical

FEB. 15

Monster Jam ⊲ This motorsports extravaganza features a mix of high-flying action and four-wheel excitement.

When: Feb. 15 Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $15. Info: monsterjam.com

FEB. 16

Balkan Festival ⊲ Experience the music, dance, language, foods, costumes, arts and crafts of several countries hailing from the Balkan region of Eastern Europe. When: Feb 16 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: $4–$6 Info: landmarkcenter.org

FEB. 18

Teddy Bear Story Time ⊲ Young visitors are invited to bring their teddy bears — which were named for President Theodore Roosevelt — to celebrate Presidents Day with a tour of the house and favorite teddy bear stories. When: Feb. 18 Where: James J. Hill House, St. Paul Cost: $6 for ages 2 and older Info: mnhs.org/event/7809


Destination Winter ⊲ Try the Wells Fargo WinterSkate and the Securian Financial SuperSlide. On Feb. 22, the festivities will conclude with a youth hockey exhibition tournament, a parade through downtown St. Paul and an Olympic-style ceremony and autograph signing with Minnesota Olympians and other hockey stars.

mnparent.com • February 2020


Out & About When: Through Feb. 22 Where: CHS Field, St. Paul Cost: WinterSkate is free (bring your own skates). One hour of unlimited rides on the slide cost $7 for kids and $10 for adults. Info: visitsaintpaul.com

Winter Fun Fest ⊲ Enjoy a variety of family-friendly nature activities, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, icy games, snow sports, crafts, a live DJ, food and beer, plus bonfires and outdoor heaters for added warmth. When: Feb. 22 Cost: FREE

Where: Dodge Nature Center, West St. Paul Info: dodgenaturecenter.org

FEB. 29

Leap Year Day Event ⊲ Learn about food chains and animal adaptations by looking at skulls, furs and live animals. Then take your knowledge to the trails by looking for animal signs and playing survival games. When: Feb. 29 Where: Kroening Interpretive Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: apm.activecommunities.com

Let’s Hygge ⊲ Celebrate winter and all things cozy with snowshoeing, kick-sledding, s’mores, a hot chocolate bar and a make-and-take art table.

When: Feb. 29 Where: Cedarholm Community Building, Roseville Cost: $5 per person, free for ages 3 and younger Info: visitroseville.com


Find more events on the Minnesota Parent website at minnesotaparent.com/calendar.

CHILDCARE/EDUCATION Preschool with childcare for Infants and Toddlers available at all locations

Bring Growing With Music to your child care program or playgroup!

www.growingwithmusic.com ~ info@growingwithmusic.com

Call 952-935-5588 and schedule a tour! misamigospreschool.com

Locations in Hopkins, Golden Valley, and St. Paul

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February 2020 • mnparent.com

Growing With Music MNP 0119 3cx2.2.indd 1

1/22/20 2:09 PM 12/13/18 12:01 Mis Amigos PM MNP 1119 2cx2.2.indd 1

10/9/19 11:19 AM




Catalina’s Preschool Spanish Southwest Mpls/Linden Hills


Portrait Parties

Fun music-based classes for ages 1½-6 & parents www.preschoolspanish.com


Magical Themes your Child will Love



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Family Owned, Family Run Since 1985


8736 Nicollet Ave S, Bloomington

Your child is a natural...

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12/4/18 4:23 PM


Ages 3–Adult

www.teddybearband.com (612) 861-3570 richard@teddybearband.com


Free Preview Classes

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CHILDREN’S YAMAHA MUSIC SCHOOL Celebrating Over 40 Musical Years in Minnesota!

www.childrensyamaha.com • 612-339-2255

Creative Kids Academy

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Bowling Party Package includes

$13.95 per person

Early Education * 6 Weeks–12 Years


Kids Birthday

5/15/15 10:45 AM

Imagine the Possibilities... H

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Schools in Edina & Roseville



Choose band size &/or Panda! • Music for all ages available! • Special rates for flexible scheduling


1/22/19 1:09 PM

+ tax & service fee.


Free Music, Spanish, Yoga, and Karate! Anoka * Apple Valley * Centerville * Lexington * Maple Grove Minnetonka * Mounds View * Orono NOW OPEN — Elk River! 763-777-9100

Parents — hide away in your own area while the kids party!


3401 Louisiana Ave. South St. Louis Park, MN

ckakids.com 844-ckakids email: info@ckakids.com Nationally accredited and Parent Aware 4 star rated


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Register for the February 8th & 9th or April 25th & 26th

6/28/19 Park 1:50 Tavern PM MNP 0119 3cx3.indd 1

12/12/18 10:50 AM

The 14th annual

at Mount Olivet Conference Center in Farmington www.marriages.org OR CALL 651.454.3238

Saturday March 7 10 am –2pm Presented by

Mention this ad and get $50 off your registration fee.

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1 hour of bowling Party table 3 menu choices Soda 1 used Tavern bowling pin for the group to sign.

@ como zoo in St. Paul 1/22/20 2:10 PM

12/13/19 Camp 2:31 PM Fair 2020 MNP 3cx1.indd 1

mnparent.com • February 2020


1/22/20 2:03 PM


Koo Koo kids!

There are a lot of die-hard Koo Koo Kanga Roo fans out there! When we gave away tickets to see the Twin Cities-based kindie-rock duo, we asked for your photos. Here are just a few!

↑ George and Samuel, age 5, with their Papa and one of their favorite guys at the Fulton Block Party

↑ Anthony, 13, of Lakeville

↑ Lilly, 7, and Lucy, 5, of White Bear Lake

↑ Luka, 9, of Chanhassen

↑ Quinn and Brynley, ages 6 and 8, of Minneapolis, dance to All I Eat is Pizza by Koo Koo Kanga Roo.

↑ Simeon, 4, of the Twin Cities

Want to see your kid on this page? Send photos with your child’s first name, age and city to editor@mnparent.com.


February 2020 • mnparent.com


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