Monday, March 31, 2008

all grown up

Philippines 2008 photo

The picture makes my little girl look so grown-up. If it were not for her height in reference to the window, I would have thought that it was someone else.
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Friday, March 28, 2008

Little Pea - the book

I am really loving this book. The illustration is so whimsical.

It is the story of Little Pea who lives a fabulous life except for nightly dinner. He is "forced" to eat candy for dinner. He has to finish all his dinner before a yummy dessert of spinach.

Kai Lan - hmmmm

Personally, the jury is still out on Kai Lan. Now who is she? Why, she's the Chinese Dora and g's new love.

I found her purely by accident one morning and I was struck that she was using some mandarin words. So I allowed little g to watch. s showed some enthusiasm for it as well. Thus far, I don't find it her annoying yet. (That qualifies as a "good" rating as far as kiddie shows are concerned). I like that she pronounces the Chinese words properly rather than it being Anglicized (though depending on the context, pronunciation of her name is typically Anglicized which makes the "lan" in Kai Lan sound like land without the ending d sound.

I do find it odd though that she seems to only live with her grandfather. Where's her parents (maybe working in the city)?

Another request for improvement is the musical quality of the show. They use the same melody for every song in every episode. At times, it is obvious that they are just trying to get the words to fit the number of notes.

On the whole, I like Kai Lan. g is besotted. I reminded g that she was Wai Lan (her chinese name). After that little tidbit, I tied her hair up "kai lan" style and tuned in to an episode where Rintoo once again has a tantrum, quite a temperamental tiger he is.

For more Kai Lan info, there's this NYTIMES article.

There's also a mess of them already on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This one is for little g. She misses her di-chi and an-ya (it's supposed to be ah-hia - big brother). She found her old elmo birthday candle yesterday, so we got to talking about her birthday party. This is months away but she plans these things with the same immediacy as this weekend. I asked her who she would want to invite. The first people she mentioned was her di-chi and an-ya. She hasn't really mentioned them in the last 2 weeks.

That seems to be her way. She may not say much at time but she seems to absorb all this information.
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What would you do?

This is a continuation of the "mean" discussion that is currently going on in my head.

I have read this article and saw a feature on CNN about this kid. It is a story about the horrors of bullying. This kid has been a target for a few years with his bullies (yes, plural is intentional here) even putting up a MySpace page devoted to the "cause". This seems really extreme. <>

What would I do if I were Billy Wolfe's mom (that will not land me in jail)?

Though there were suggestions all over blogsphere that the mom should just pull the kid out of school, which I admit would be my course of action, there is an implicit defeat in that move. What would she then be communicating to her son? What is the message she's sending to administration and teachers who don't seem to want to do anything?

What would you do?

In Billy's case, his mom filed a lawsuit against the creators of the MySpace page.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Phthalates in J&J products

There's been a whole flurry about Phthalates (pronounced as thowl-ates) in the last few months. A study has found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who'd been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products. Read more here.

Someone in one of my mommy groups actually wrote J&J and got this response. It was a thorough response but not exactly a very reassuring one. I am posting the response here.

Thank you for contacting the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies,
Inc. Information Center. It is always important to hear from our
consumers, and we appreciate the time you have taken to contact us.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies would like to reassure parents
that their children's safety is our utmost priority. For more than
100 years, we have been known as a trusted health care partner, and
we value highly the trust that parents place in us.

Phthalates are a large family of compounds used in a wide variety of
everyday products.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies uses only one of the many
phthalates-diethylphthalate (DEP) -in some of its personal care
products as a component of fragrance preparations. Both the Cosmetic
Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, an independent, nonprofit panel
of scientists and physicians who assess the safety of personal care
product ingredients in the U.S., and the Scientific Committee on
Consumer Products (SCCP), the body that advises the European Union
Commission on safety matters related to cosmetics, have determined
DEP to be safe as used. DEP has been extensively researched and is
not linked to reproductive toxicity or endocrine disruption.

The study in the journal Pediatrics references seven phthalate
compounds, yet only DEP is used in baby care products. This suggests
that most of the phthalates found in the urine samples came from
another route of exposure. The researchers for this study did not
test baby care products for the presence of phthalates or control for
other possible routes of exposure.

Again, thank you for your interest in our company. Should you have
any comments or questions in the future, please contact us via our
website or by calling our toll-free number, 1-888-638-5242. Our
specialists are available Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM
EST and will be happy to assist you.

how to deal with "mean"

This happened quite a few months back but I still remember it and it still saddens me.

We went to a costume party. There were other kids there (2 boys and a girl). g had never met them before but she seemed willing to try since they seems to be having so much fun running around. As usual she proceeded cautiously, sort of running close to the group but not really with the group. Then a little closer and then closer. I stood nearby talking to the parents of the kids. The two boys were brothers and the girl was a friend of theirs.

As g was finally within touching distance from the group, the girl loudly declared to "her" group, "let's not play with her. " The "her" was little g. I was so crushed. Yes, I was crushed by a 3 year old's comment. I looked around to the parents. I didn't think they heard her because they were in the midst of conversation. (Now that statement does not begin to approach the textbook definition of mean but she was referring to MY BABY!!!!)

Though this seems to be one of those things that every child has to learn to deal with, I can't help the impulse to give that kid a good talking-to.

Thankfully, I don't think g heard.

I wonder though what I would do or say when the day comes when she will hear a comment like that.

Shyness - nature or nurture?

This is a surprise. I have seen it for a while but I am still amazed at how shy little g is. At home, she is a rambunctious, playful and all-around nutty little girl. Outside and in public (this could be a "public" of one other person, she retreats into her little shell. This was something that was apparent since her first birthday. At the time I had thought that maybe in time she will just grow out of it. She has not.

It is most evident when we take her to her gym for a regularly scheduled class. She has been coming to this same location for the last year and a half. Granted that in that time, she has been through many classes and many different instructors, but on a whole, she sees the same people.

Every week without fail, when we bring her to the class, she will spend the first 10-20 minute clutching my or her dad's leg. She will insist that we sit beside her in the classroom. This also happened with her dance class last year but she grew out of it when two-thirds of her semester was over. So I thought that since she sort of "got over it" that last time, this time will be cinch. Not so.

I have done everything I have thought of to gently nurture a more independent spirit but she still remains really closed and slow-to-trust.

How does a parent encourage a more forward child?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Summer is coming

OK...I admit that I am being a little hopeful here given the cold wet weather today, but I am beginning to look forward to warmer times.

So I am once again collecting things to do nearby and places to see a little farther out.

For those interested in indoor pools (while it is still a little chilly out), Manhattan has a cool assortment of indoor pools that fit the bill. I found this article in the NY Magazine site with surprising locations for indoor pools all over the city.

Now when the heat finally arrives but the family prefers a quick jaunt into the city rather than a lengthy trip to the beaches, this article lists the best outdoor pools around town.

I have to dig around now for some jersey equivalents.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Solo Flight

Last Saturday, in a fit of bravery, I decided that since G was still sound asleep, I would take the kids out alone. I think this is the first ever substantial outing of its kind. I might have taken them out on a short walk or maybe a drive to our local Targay but this time we went to the MALL.

It was a spur of the moment decision really and was not meant to have monumental implications. As all things monumental, it started with a relatively small idea. Typically our Saturday morning consists of waiting for G to wake up. This Saturday, the sun was shining and I was so over this winter-freezing thing. So I thought, "how about a jaunt to Targay?" g was amenable. She likes going there. s just liked being out. I checked the time and realize that if I had gone out that very minute, I would not make it back to prepare lunch. Well, then we'll have lunch there. Seems reasonable.

I packed some diapers and juices. In my walk to the car, I realized that Target was pretty horrible as far as food choices. The thought of having to pack the kids back in the car to go to another place for food really tired me out.

I decided on the mall. It turned out to be brilliant. I went there early in the morning before the typically mall rats would get there. We walked around and window shopped mainly. We ate at the food court. Lastly we checked out the pet store. the kids loved looking at animals though s seemed really nervous about getting up close to it.

So it is brand new day. I am excited that it actually opens up Saturday mornings for short field trips (other than the mall). Anyone want to playdate?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008