While my higher-minded friends were busy devouring classics like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, I was the kid more likely to be hunkered down with a couple hours worth of "Two-Minute Mysteries." Attention span has never really been my strength. And despite a sincere crush on Pa in the TV series, I could never fully relate to the rest of the Ingalls family in any of the "Little House" books. It didn't matter whether they were "In the Big Woods", "On the Banks of Plum Creek" or even "On The Prairie," homesteading just didn't do it for me. I was more into The Outsidersanything Judy Blume and Tiger Beat. I guess I wanted my heroes, heroines and teenybopper crushes to have come of age after 1950 (this would include Michael Landon, right?).
Sure, I may have read quite a bit, but I never really considered myself "literary". Books and magazines were pure entertainment, not something, I thought, to celebrate or revere. It never once occurred to me to go---or for my parents to take me--- to a book festival. To be fair, they never took me to a musical festival or film festival, either. I guess you could say we were equal opportunity non-festival goers.
Perhaps we didn't go to these things because they didn't exist in the 1970s. Or maybe, because growing up in up a large city, these kinds of events seemed daunting and chaotic, especially for people like my Mom and Dad who would have had to escort four, not always perfectly behaved, children.
But I don't really have the same excuses in Madison, WI in 2012. Getting downtown is quite manageable. And I only have three kids, all well past the tantrum age. So I will plan to hit the Wisconsin Book Festival this week. Because if you have kids, regardless of their ages or passions, the free, five-day program dedicated to all things "word," will definitely have something of interest for them.
On Thursday, Nov. 8, for instance, you can take your animal lover to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum to hear Maria Goodavage , author of Soldier Dogs, tell the story of the role service dogs have played throughout military history. And all day on the 9th has been dubbed High School Friday with tons of programming just for teens. From published authors, to writing workshops, to a First Wave spoken word evening event that will bring "page poets" and "stage poets" together at the Overture Center, it's chock full of first-rate programming. Saturday brings a highlight with Milwaukee's renowned children's theater, First Stage, presenting a 45-minute story/drama workshop based on the beloved Lois Ehlert's Mole's Hill, to be followed by a book signing with the Caldecott-winning author and illustrator. And to top it all off, your own child can become a "published" author on Sunday by attending a hands-on pop-up bookmaking workshop at Anthology on State Street.
This year's Book Fest theme is "Lost and Found" -- and it seems apropos. Because while I may have lost out on getting introduced to these kinds of events when I was a kid, I am hopeful I can find my "literary" mojo -- and begin to instill some in my kids -- this coming weekend.comments powered by Disqus
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.
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.