Archive for June, 2011

Caving In To Cars 2

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Given my fierce opposition to anything violent in my kids’ entertainment and my critique of Pixar’s apparent move away from child-appropriate films (not to mention commenter Tim’s disappointed commentary on their latest film), you would not be out of line to assume that there is no way I would take my kids to see Cars 2.  And so you would likely be rather surprised to hear that my kids did indeed go with their Nana to see Cars 2 yesterday.  What, you might ask, was I thinking?  Why would I allow such a violation of my principles?


An End To Homework

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

One of the biggest parenting challenges, at least in our house, is homework.  Perhaps not so much in terms of having the kids learn and understand the material — although that can be a challenge too — but just getting kids to sit down, focus on their work, and get it done.  For us, this involves a lot of whining, wailing, and general gnashing of teeth.  And the kids don’t enjoy it either.  To make matters worse, my oldest will be entering 4th grade next year and the amount of homework sent home is reportedly kicked up a notch.  If we lived in Los Angeles, however, it wouldn’t be a problem anymore.


Inappropriate Marketing

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

So we had swim class in the morning and the San Francisco Free Folk Festival in the afternoon.  It was a full day, to be sure, but the real challenge was that the two were 40 miles apart.  So while the Junior Partner was practicing his up-faces, I took the older two to a nearby Subway to get sandwiches for a quick lunch on the road.  Unfortunately, when I ordered a kid’s meal for the three-year-old, it came in a bag emblazoned with the Green Lantern character from the recent film.  A film, I will note, that is rated PG-13 by the MPAA and given a 4.7.4 for sex, violence, and profanity by


Has Pixar Become Too Grown-Up?

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

For the last 15 years, Pixar has been known for some amazing animation, ideal, for the most part, for even younger children.  Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 were all wonderful films, according to both kids and critics.  WALL-E is a great lesson in what can happen if we don’t take care of our planet.  And I will certainly admit that I still cry at the end of Cars when Lightning gives up the race to do the right thing.  But have recent Pixar films become too violent for young kids?


American Families Come Up Short In Emergencies

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

If you were suddenly faced with an emergency — a necessary repair or unexpected medical expense — how well could you handle it, financially? According to a new study, more than half of American families would likely be unable to come up with the cash to cover a significant expense in a month’s time. As the economy remains in the doldrums, even those who are still employed are no longer financially secure.


It’s a 3-way Street

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

It’s an old joke — A nice old lady encounters a little boy standing on a street corner holding a bundle tied to the end of a stick.  She asks where he’s going and he tells her that he’s running away from home.  Concerned, she asks where “home” is and he points to a house just a couple of doors from the corner where he’s standing.  Less worried, she asks if this is as far as he’s going and the boy sighs and tells her “I guess so.  I’m not allowed to cross the street by myself.”

But in the real world, is there really reason to worry about kids a crossing the street?  Certainly, when they’re four or five years old, they shouldn’t be going anywhere by themselves but what about at, say, age ten or twelve?  Is a middle-school student old enough to cross the street by himself?  You might think so, but watch this video and you may very well change your mind.


Too Much Information

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

There is a lot of information that can help a teacher figure out how best to help a student learn.  Seemingly irrelevant data such as who the child lives with, what language (or languages) are spoken at home, and if the child has any medical issues are all clues a teacher can use tailor lessons to a child’s specific situation.  There’s one bit of information, however, that I simply can’t imagine anyone at a child’s school needing to know — but that didn’t stop one school district from asking for it.


Sending Kids Off To School In Style

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

It may seem odd to be talking about putting kids on the bus to school when the school year is winding down or even, for many school districts, over and done with, but for one high school sophomore in American Fork, Utah, the morning send-off may be the best part about being through with school.  It seems his dad loves him so much, he was willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to show that love — including by putting on a wedding dress.


Click It or Ticket — For Kids Too

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

When I was growing up, my siblings and I were absolutely required to wear seatbelts at all times when traveling in a car.  Considering the way my mother drove, that’s a very good thing.  Back then, it was a matter of personal choice; today it’s the law.  Electronic signs along the freeways I drive to work proclaim “click it or ticket”, the slogan law enforcement agencies are using to remind people to wear their seatbelts and officers are indeed handing out tickets for failing to comply.  As one Texas ten-year-old found out, that applies to kids as well as adults.


A Summer of Cinema

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Has summer vacation snuck up on you as it has the rest of us?  Are you staring at three months of “I’m bored!” and wracking your brain (and searching the internet) for activities that will keep them busy and happy without driving you insane or sending you to the poorhouse?  Are you looking at the cost of summer camps and wondering how much your kidney would sell for — assuming you could even find a spot at any price?  Well, help is here.