My kids assure me that if they cross their eyes and someone hits them on the back, their eyes will not stay that way. They claim no swimmer has ever drowned from not waiting a full hour after eating to go back in the water. And it is highly unlikely, they tell me, that the gum they swallowed on Halloween, or even the gum they swallowed on Halloween seven years ago, is still rotting in their stomachs.
I guess old wives tales die hard. Sometimes mothers can be wrong about things.
But hey, kids, right back at you. Despite the existence of calculators, memorizing your multiplication tables is not a complete waste of time. Yes, ice cream is a dairy food, but it still should not be considered a dinner alternative. And I am pretty sure -- despite your emotional dinner table proclamations -- you will not die from just one more bite of broccoli.
You guys certainly dish out your fair share of wrong, as well.
But it appears, based on past results of the NewsCurrents Presidential Poll, kids are usually right when it comes to certain things. Like predicting the winner of a presidential election.
Since 1984, NewsCurrents , a weekly current events discussion program for K-12 schools published by Knowledge Unlimited of Madison, has asked a cross section of students across the country who they think will win the election. And according to a company press release, this poll has correctly predicted who would be dancing at the inaugural ball in each of the last seven races.
Matt Cibula, a spokesperson for NewsCurrents who has three school-age kids of his own, has some thoughts on what makes kids so prescient when it comes to elections. "In my opinion, young people have the most amazing BS filter of any humans. They can tune out the heated rhetoric and spiraling. We had great comments [in poll responses] on both sides," he continues. "The kids were very articulate about the reasons for their decision."
So, the kids got Ronald Reagan right in 1984 and the first Bush in 1988. Perhaps swayed by his funky shades and saxophone playing on the Arsenio show, they also rightly called the presidency for Bill Clinton in 1992.
And while the rest of the country was completely enveloped by Florida's "hanging chads" controversy in 2000, the stalwart youthful poll respondents had already declared George W. the victor.
Once again, the kids have spoken. According to this year's Newscurrents poll, things are looking good for President Obama. Our sitting Commander in Chief gained 50% of the votes to Gov. Romney's 43%. Other candidates rounded out the remaining 7%, with Jill Stein of the Green Party finishing highest among third-party candidates. Color me impressed. I'm not sure my kids even know there is a Green Party candidate running for the highest office in the land.
The Scholastic Student Presidential Vote is another major national youth poll that, with the exception of two elections since 1940, has also accurately projected the eventual presidential winner, confirms this one is heading Obama's way.
According to Judith Laitman, the publisher of NewsCurrents, their poll is not scientific. But maybe science is a bit overrated in these types of things, anyway. Because even with overwhelming medical evidence to the contrary, I'm still a bit leery about the whole swallowing-gum thing.comments powered by Disqus
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.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
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.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.
All during childhood, we calmly tell our kids they don't need to be afraid of the dark, thunder or the monster under the bed. But it's pretty hard to keep your parental cool when your kid is about to embark on the one thing that terrifies you. I knew the problem wasn't really with him. It was with me.
Last January, when temperatures dipped below minus 30 and most people between the ages of 16 and 24 did anything to stay inside, a small yet sturdy group of at-risk teenage boys and young men stacked wood and managed controlled burns at Festge County Park near Cross Plains. Five months later, following a temperature swing of more than 100 degrees, Isthmus found some of those same guys removing invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn at Lake View Hill County Park on Madison's north side.
The first week of summer break at our place usually comes and goes without incident. At times, one could argue, it even verges on pleasant. I have no school lunches to pack and the kids have no 7 a.m. buses to catch.
Have you tried getting anywhere on either Verona Road or East Johnson lately? I'm pretty sure a six-month old could crawl to Fitchburg, or across the isthmus, in less time that it takes me to drive there these days.
As soon as the door closed behind him, I poured myself a cup of the coffee he had made and took a moment to let the enormity of what just happened sink in. My son was ready that morning despite my inability to properly set an alarm clock. My kid was ready that morning without nudging, cajoling, or reminding. He was ready, even when I wasn't.
For the past 17 years or so (i.e., since I've had kids), I haven't made books the priority in my life I know they should be. It's not that I don't try. Just this past weekend I had the best of intentions of picking up, and even finishing, I am Malala, this year's UW-Madison's Go Big Read pick. But the copy still sits untouched on my nightstand.
The longest day of the year is upon us. For those of you keeping track, the sun will rise at 5:18 a.m. and set at 8:41 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. All that daylight, courtesy of the annual summer solstice, will provide the perfect backdrop for Make Music Madison, a daylong event featuring hours and hours of free performances in nearly every corner of the city.