In late July a friend of mine who works at the Madison Children's Museum called to ask if my elementary aged kids would be interested in appearing in a video promoting the new digs. While my immediate stage mom wannabe response should have been "and what should they wear?" I was a bit nervous about how my kids might behave at the shoot.
They just weren't, if I may be frank, huge fans of the old space on State Street. Sure, we'd spent some lovely pre-school mornings digging for dinosaur bones and milking fake cows, but once my sons hit third grade, they'd pretty much aged out of the place and I, long before that. Sure, I love a good museum as much as next mom, but growing up in DC and raised on all things Smithsonian, I never fully got the whole children's museum thing.
But, the lure of the limelight is exceptionally strong and they -- ok, I -- couldn't pass up a chance to be on TV. Maybe there would even be craft service.
I was happily shocked to find (along with over 40,000 of you, by now) that this is not your father's Madison Children's Museum (or even your teenager's). It is unbelievable, with some of the funkiest exhibits I've seen anywhere. From a cow hanging from the ceiling, to the bone bridge, to the first-rate public art, the space is weirdly and wonderfully beautiful. A blend of Salvador Dali and Rube Goldberg for the Nickelodeon set.
But what really struck me most about the museum that day was not how much fun my kids were having. It would have been impossible for them to do otherwise, with a human gerbil wheel, duh? The real revelation came when I realized what an awesome time I was having, independent of my offspring. It was not a "brings out the kid in you" moment. I was hardly feeling childlike, but instead I felt hip and youthful, like I'd just discovered some hot new bar or gallery space in Soho. I felt "in", "with it" (are these still "in" and "with it" words?) -- something I hadn't felt for years on a kid excursion!
In the old space, my happiness had come from watching my tots have mild fun in a sweet and safe environment. There I always felt a bit dowdy -- willing to give up my good time to ensure theirs. In many ways this sacrifice is the essence of parenting, but not always thrilling. Here I just want to say, "Kids, meet me back here in an hour, Mom is checking out the Roof Top Ramble on her own. Just don't break anything." A complete win-win, unless of course they actually break something.
Rumor has it the museum does fabulous birthday parties. I'm already secretly (ok, not so secretly) planning my next one there. Adults only.comments powered by Disqus
Like many parents, I look at the wide world around my kids and do my best to prepare them for life. We talk about working hard, being kind and responsible, Internet safety, stranger danger, and the (gulp) birds and the bees. But what about a topic such as race?
If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys.
I spend a lot of time talking to my kids about how lucky we are to have what we have. Though our house is tiny and our van is unequipped with automatic doors, we have all we could ever need, and a lot of what we want.
On the evening of Nov. 6, a throng of people gathered at Monona Terrace. They were there to attend an impressive anniversary shindig, but the real buzz of excitement centered on the event's guest of honor.
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If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
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"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
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Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.