I love the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and have treasured the experience of sharing them with my children. Little House on the Prairie was the first chapter book that interested Nicholas enough for me to read it to him. His sister Lydia's first chapter book was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of … Continue reading Little House on the Prairie: Too racist for children?
My daughter Lydia, who is two and a half years old, noticed this picture in the newspaper I was reading. This is a photograph by Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images, as it appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday, February 12, 2017. LYDIA: Who are they? MAMA: They are standing in line to vote in India. LYDIA: … Continue reading Muslim women in India: Are they like us?
Lydia is eleven months old. Yesterday, we spent some time enjoying the beautiful spring weather in our small front yard. Lydia studied the flowers. She picked up dead leaves (functioning as mulch) and examined their lacy skeletons. She gleefully wiggled her arms amid the arching green leaves of the daylilies coming up between our sidewalk … Continue reading Baby’s First Traffic Safety Lesson
Welcome to the June 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Animals This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and animals. *** When my cousin Samantha was three years old … Continue reading Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children
He never believed in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, either. There are three important reasons why Daniel and I decided, before Nicholas was born, that we were not going to pretend that any of these characters were real. The first is that we didn't like the idea of lying to our child. We … Continue reading Why my kid never believed in Santa Claus
A while back, another mother asked my advice: Tonight my five year old asked me, "Where did the first people come from?" "Well," I replied, "Different people believe different things. Scientists think that humans evolved from gorillas." "What is evolved?" "That’s when things change from one thing to another, like a caterpillar to a butterfly. … Continue reading Answering a child’s questions on human origins
Huh, why am I still talking about Easter on May fifteenth? Everybody knows Easter was way back in March this year! Well, yes, Easter Sunday, the commemoration of the day when Jesus rose from the dead, was on March 31, but Easter actually is a season that lasts seven weeks in the Episcopal Church and … Continue reading Easter: Is it just a believing?
If you have any opinions at all about the appropriate methods of disciplining children, and if you are ever anywhere near any families with different opinions, someday you will find yourself in this situation: Your child sees another parent respond to a child's behavior in a way that your child recognizes as different, which may … Continue reading What to Do When Your Child Witnesses Bad Discipline
I am an Episcopalian, raising my son Nicholas (now eight years old) as an Episcopalian, but I was raised Unitarian myself, so I've had to figure out a lot of this Christian parenting stuff as we go along. I've talked with some other parents in the same boat, as well as some who don't belong … Continue reading How I told my child the Easter story
This fall, our church has launched a new Bible study session, on Sundays between the two church services, to discuss the portion of the Gospel that will be read in church that day. As Episcopalians, we follow a lectionary that tells us which scriptures to read each day, and this fall the Gospel readings for … Continue reading You do not know what you are asking.
You might think that addiction is a topic that wouldn't come up until children are in late elementary school, going through whatever passes for drug education in their school. You might be right. Then again, your child might ask questions at a much earlier age after noticing that someone you know or a television character … Continue reading Explaining Addiction to a Young Child
We live on a quiet street, but just around the block is the main street of our neighborhood, which has lots of traffic, parallel parking along both sides, and lots of intersections where right turns on red are allowed. Only some of the intersections have traffic lights and walk signals. There are lots of useful … Continue reading Traffic Safety for Little Kids
My response to this question won't work for everyone, but I think most parents can adapt it to explain the beliefs they want to convey to their child. You also can learn from my experience and avoid leaving out a crucial fact about death, as I did! Nicholas first asked about death a few weeks … Continue reading How do you explain death to a young child?
If you haven't heard this question from your child yet, you're likely to hear it any day now. As the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaches, I'm seeing and hearing more commemoration than in the past eight years. My son asked about September 11 two years ago when the newspaper vending box showed a … Continue reading Mama, what happened on September 11?
(I had to add some words that don't start with S to help search engines find this article!) Our son is six years old and still kind of wishes Mama would stay with him all the time he's sleeping. He understands that grownups don't need as much sleep as children and have other things to … Continue reading Simple Solution to Six-year-old’s Sleep Situation (coming into parents’ bed)
I talk to my kid a lot. He's five-and-a-half years old now and has some interesting things to say, but long before he was capable of conversation I talked to him quite a bit. It wasn't really a conscious strategy, just that I like having a companion sharing my experiences. In my own childhood, I … Continue reading Thinking Out Loud
For this back-to-school edition of Works-for-Me Wednesday, I'd like to share some strategies for learning and doing arithmetic. Some of these I learned in elementary school, and others I picked up later but wish I had known in elementary school! I'm now the data manager of a large social science research study, so I use … Continue reading Arithmetricks
Three years ago, Daniel and I were interviewed by Redbook magazine for an article called "The Changing Shape of the American Family" which profiled several different family structures. The Alternatives to Marriage Project referred the reporter to us as an example of a stable couple raising a child without being married. The final article [which, … Continue reading Why aren’t we married?
I'm a research data manager: I spend my days working on various levels of the process of converting people's responses to questions into numbers in the computer. It's not the career I expected, and it's not a career most people immediately understand (the scene at my high school reunion: "So Jason is a police officer, … Continue reading Early Encounters with Variables
It's been one week since Pittsburgh hosted the G-20 economic summit. The demonstrations against it and the police reactions to those demonstrations were a lot milder than they have been at previous summits in other cities, but there was some violent conflict and questionable conduct on both sides--check out the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or Pittsburgh City … Continue reading Explaining the G-20 Protests to a Preschooler