I am pretty sure we have a Major League Baseball-loving poltergeist living in our basement. What else could account for the sounds of Sports Center still emanating from the lower level every morning long after my high school aged son has left for school?
My daughter, now nearly 12, has fallen asleep with the lights on ever since she was a toddler. When she was two, it was out of fear that the boogeyman might pop out from under the bed to kidnap her in the middle of the night. But it doesn't matter how many times I point out that there is no way a monster could fit under there given the dirty socks, wet towels, long-neglected Barbies and limbless stuffed animals that currently claim squatters rights behind her dust ruffle; to this day, she still feels safer with not just a night light, but the overhead light on too, when she finally closes her eyes.
It may be a bigger waste of breath than electricity to ask my kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. If I've nagged them once, I've nagged them a thousand times. No, I've never noticed anything amiss with their fingers. But it appears they are physically incapable of flipping a switch to the "off" position.
Nothing, not even threats to have them pitch in with the MGE bill, seems to work when it comes to getting the kids to help with our household's energy conservation.
So I was quite pleased to hear about a creative local contest that might just serve as the inspiration my offspring need to take reducing their carbon footprint just a little more seriously. And it involves using their iPods.
This year once again, in honor of Earth Day, Madison Gas & Electric will be sponsoring their "Celebrate Earth Day Every Day" video contest for elementary and middle school students. To participate, kids, either working in teams or individually, need to create a video no longer than five minutes that encourages others (or maybe even themselves) to take personal action in benefiting the environment.
The videos will be judged on originality, creativity, accuracy of information and practicality. The winning entry at both the elementary and middle school levels will win a party up to $500 for their entire class. Deadline to receive entries is May 2, 2014.
I have no doubt my kids can come up with dozens of original ideas for this. Both of my younger ones definitely have a little bit of that Super 8 spirit in them. Maybe there's a new version of the Cup Song they could film, but it can star all their friends rhythmically turning on--and more importantly--off lights? Or perhaps they could inspire a new dance craze? Instead of "Teach Me How to Bucky" it could be "Teach Me How to Chuckie (aluminum cans into the recycling can)"?
And I will definitely suggest they channel their inner Hitchcocks and consider something in the horror genre. After all, we already have a ghost living in the basement who I am sure would be happy to star. And the boogeyman living under my daughter's bed is probably ready for his close-up, too.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.