Weekly Web Round-Up: Week of October 12, 2012
Happy weekend! We’ve been super busy here at NYMetroParents with the production of our Fall/Winter issue of Special Parent AND starting the November issue of NYMetroParent—wow! November already?! And, don’t forget to visit our Halloween website where you can find new ghoulish goodies everyday, learn about our photo contest, and enter to win some awesome giveaways! This week, since we didn’t post a round-up last Friday, get ready for a double dose of web round-up!
Week of October 5, 2012
With the election coming up on Nov. 6, your children may be exposed to political views that differ from yours. Over at AlphaMom, Wendi Aarons give some really great tips—including “Base Your Arguments in Facts”—on how to teach and show your kids how to be respectful of others’ opinions, especially when it comes to a touchy topic like politics.
We need to show our kids how to be respectful of people with different political views. Especially now, when America is just weeks away from the 2012 Presidential election and our kids are paying close attention to everything we’re saying about it. (Or, in some cases, yelling about it.)
I’m by no means a political expert, but I definitely feel that if we want the significance of the Presidential election to be understood by our kids, and we want them to grow up to be responsible voters, we need to talk to them about politics in a thoughtful, intelligent manner.
Speaking of elections, have you been watching the presidential debates? In his segment “Jimmy Talks to Kids,” late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel discussed the first presidential debate with four kids. Watch for their opinions.
We’ve known for a while that more and more dads are the stay-at-home parent, and now, with TV shows like “Up All Night” and “Guys with Kids,” stay-at-home dads are becoming more prevalent. The Huffington Post recently posted a list of “12 Things Not to Say to a Stay-At-Home Dad” by Mark Greene of the Good Men Project, including, “Don’t say the words ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mom.’ In that order. Not at all. Ever.” and “Do not say, ‘Oh, no! Did you get laid off?’ when you find out that a guy is a Stay at Home Dad.”
Deciding to move to New York City can be a difficult decision, especially with how much it costs to live here. Deciding to move to New York City with a child, especially one who has special needs might be a more difficult decision. Marie Myung-Ok Lee, whose son J “has serious medical challenges and developmental disabilities, autism among them,” recently wrote for the New York Times about her and her husband’s decision to move to NYC with their 12-year-old.
He’s prone to violent tantrums that can be triggered by something as simple as catching sight of a dog 100 feet away, which makes our everyday life often messy, always unpredictable. …While I feared New York would be overstimulating for him, at the same time, there was so much interesting stuff to look at; even the park was newly charming, filled with strollers and bikers. Plus, we passed so many dogs that by the time we got back home, it seemed J had experienced some kind of speed-therapy, becoming almost inured.
Do you avoid being in pictures at all costs? One mother, Allison Tate, wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post called “The Mom Stays in the Picture,” in which she admits to being guilty of avoiding photographers, but at her niece’s Sweet 16, she decided to be in the picture. Maybe her words will inspire you to step out from behind the camera.
It seems logical. We’re sporting mama bodies and we’re not as young as we used to be. We don’t always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up, perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to just take their pictures, we think.
But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don’t like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?
You’ve probably heard the new hit song “Gangnam Style” or seen a parody… This time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have re-emerged from the sewers to celebrate their return to TV.
Week of October 12, 2012
Slate has chosen Wonder by R. J. Palacio as its “Best Kids Book of the Year”—coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month. Wonder ($10.98; bn.com) is about 10-year-old boy August Pullman, a boy who has a different looking face due to a chromosomal abnormality and an illness and his transition from home-schooling to public school. Slate writer Emily Bazelon says, “I listened to Wonder with my husband and my 9- and 12-year-old sons on a summer camping trip, and we spent hours mesmerized by the story and talking about the characters. Auggie knows that his appearance shocks people; he’s confronted constantly by that reality.” Bazelon talked to Palacio about the book and how he came up with the story line.
I really wrote the book with my older son and his friends in mind when he was in sixth grade. Middle school is often so fraught and it can be heartbreaking to watch as a parent. In a sense, it’s the first time kids are making their own choices about who they want to be. They’re pushing their parent away, which means they’re sometimes dealing with moral issues on their own. I also think there’s a universal aspect to Auggie’s experience at that age: We all know what it’s like to be an outsider and to have people talk about you behind your back—who hasn’t experienced that in middle school? I watched my son struggle with former friends who really betrayed each other, and more than anything I was dumbfounded by the lack of involvement of some parents. I kept hearing, “Let the kids work it out.” But at 11, they need reminding of who you want them to be. I think kids go home and they’re dying to hear from parents even if they pretend they don’t want to.
Alexis Wineman. Remember that name when the Miss America Pageant takes place Jan. 12, 2013. Wineman is Miss Montana, and the reason you’ll want to remember her come January is because her platform is autism awareness, as she herself is autistic. “As she puts it, ‘Normal is just a dryer setting,’” writes S. E. Smith of xojane, “and she’s setting out to change the way people view autism, and autistics, with her campaign.”
The mainstream media, of course, is going gaga over how inspiring and special she is, but what I see is a very different narrative. Alexis Wineman is a badass autistic girl who’s setting out to change social perceptions of autism, not just among people with autism but also among the neurotypical (nonautistic) world.
A lot of autism “awareness” as projected by organizations like Autism Speaks is about how awful autism is, how it’s such a burden on parents and families, how it’s the worst thing ever and should be eliminated. It’s all about finding cures. Wineman’s awareness is about the fact that autistic people exist and there’s nothing wrong with that, that there’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of if you have autism, that autistic people can set out to accomplish great things.
Halloween is 19 days away. Are you an expecting mother, like Ilana over at Mommy Shorts and trying to come up with a costume? Ilana has found “23 Ways to Disguise Your Baby Bump on Halloween” for her blog, all homemade options, and “13 Costumes to Show-Off or Hide Your Baby Bump” for Babble, all of which you can purchase. Our favorite? This one Ilana found on Etsy.
And finally, we leave you with this adorable video we found on NYC Dad’s Group of men, who are all fathers, singing “Part of Your World” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.