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Sarah saw a hypnotherapist. Kristen went to a faith healer. One of us has had her colon roto-routed. We are talking about the most wacky and woo-woo things we’ve done in the pursuit of better health.
In this episode we talked about:
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1. Element Unisex Mohave Skateboard School Backpack 
2. Roxy Junior's Shadow Swell Backpack
3. Volcom Unisex Substrate Backpack 
5. Under Armour UA Team Hustle Backpack Midnight Navy 
6. Trailmaker Girls' Vinyl Bottom Backpack 
9. JanSport Big Student Classics Series Backpack

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On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from June 2008.


The Myth of the Colorblind Kid
DEF: xenophopbia [zen-uh-foh-bee-uh] noun : a fear of that which is unknown, typically used to describe general dislike of people different from oneself.

I used to like the idea that kids are colorblind. I love the vision of American being this great melting pot where kids of every race play together in perfect harmony. I think we are getting there. But as my kids are getting older, I've begun to realize that children do, in fact, notice race. I've even had the sinking feeling as I've observed playground interactions that Jafta is sometimes excluded because he looks different. When he is with his long-time friends who know him well, this is not the case. But when he is the new kids on the playground, kids are very wary of playing with him, where they may be more welcoming of another white child. He had a really difficult time with being left out at his very vanilla preschool at first, and I think this was a factor, too.

I thought I was just being paranoid until I started doing some research on it. A simple seach on race and exclusion yielded dozens of recent studies on the impact of race in preschool and elementary school. The findings were scary: race is one of the biggest factors in children being left out by their peers. It's as impactful as gender, physical differences, and even cognitive ability.

I'm not sure why I was so naive to think my own kids didn't notice these differences. I feel like I have done a good job of exposing my kids to lots of cultural diversity. But they let me know in subtle ways. I was mortified when my son pointed to a Mexican man who was bagging our groceries and asked what that gardener was doing. He also yells "hey neighbor" to any woman he sees wearing a head covering, because there is a Muslim woman who lives across the street. And my daughter? At only 18 months old, she displayed her observation of racial differences. We attend a gospel choir rehearsal at an African American church, and my daughter begins enthusiastically singing one of the songs every time she sees a group of Black people. Um, awkward!

The truth is, at the age that most children begin to notice gender differences, they also begin to notice race. I think many of us are unaware of this, because it can be subject we inadvertently avoid. We want our kids to be "colorblind", so we pretend not to notice differences and encourage them do to the same. But in doing so, we might miss some important conversations. (Like pointing out that not ALL Mexicans are gardeners). If we avoid the subject, we leave our kids to their own assumptions that are often based on a lack of exposure.

I have a few friends who decided to broach the subject of race with their children, and they were shocked at what they found. One child expressed how glad she was that her skin was light because lighter was prettier. Another child said, point-blank, that he didn't like kids with brown skin. Another parent decided to just observe her son at their next park outing. She watched her child allow a white child into the circle to share sand toys, but tell a Mexican child he had to play elsewhere.

Now, let me point out that these are not bad, abnormal, or cruel kids. These are sweet kids from amazing families, just expressing a typical (albeit flawed) developmental preference for similarity. A child who is wary of children who look different is not a racist in the making, any more than a child who wants to play with kids of their own gender is a budding sexist. These are normal developmental stages. However, like many "normal" childhood traits (impulsivity, selfishness, etc), this brand of xenophobia may need some gentle guidance and education from parents.

So what's a parent to do? Here are a few things we've been trying at my house:


1. Take an inventory of your home's diversity. Are your toys sending a subtle message? Make it a point to buy dolls and action figures of every race. Watch how your kids react. 


2. Be intentional in showing your children positive examples of other races in the media they watch. Some great examples are Go, Diego, Go!Little BillNi Hao, Kai-LanDora the Explorer, and Cooking for Kids with Luis.

3. Take inventory of your own racial biases. Be careful with the language you use around your children. Avoid making stereotypical statements or racial jokes in front of your children. (or better yet, don't do it at all). 


4. Look for opportunities to immerse your family in other cultures. Try to find situations where your family is the minority. This is a great stretching and empathy building opportunity for you and your kids. Try attending a minority church event or a cultural festival. Again, observe your child's reactions and open a dialogue about how that feels.

5. Read books that depict children from other races and countries. Some of our favorites are We're Different, We're the SameThe Colors of Us , and Whoever You Are (Reading Rainbow Book) . For an incredible list of multi-cultural children's books, check out Shades of Love at Shelfari.com.

6. Just observe. Watch how your children plays with children who are different, whether it be skin color, gender, disability, or physical differences. Talk about it. Let your child know that you are a safe person to process their feelings and reactions with, while at the same time guiding them to accept children with differences.

7. Lead by example. Widen your circle of friends and acquaintances to include people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.


Read more: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2008/06/myth-of-colorblind-kid.html#ixzz5NPcSxUwY
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Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories
 of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for
the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently
in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family.
For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.
  
 
Wednesday's Child: Five siblings separated in foster care - YouTube
    
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1. The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook
2. BedShelfie The Original Bedside Shelf 
3. CoutureBridal Farmhouse Duvet Cover Set Twin 66x90 Blush
4. AmazonBasics 5-Piece Bed-In-A-Bag - Twin/Twin Extra Long
5. Genesis 6-Inch Clip-On Fan - Convertible Table-Top 
6. The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into
7. Elite Cuisine EBK-200BL Maxi-Matic 3-in-1 Multifunction Breakfast Center
8. Bedside Caddy Hanging Storage / Organizer with Laptop Spa
9. DormCo The Mini Shelf Supreme - Adjustable Shelving DormCo 
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On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from June 2008.



The Women's Program of Heartline Haiti is all about teaching women to care for their babies and find industry and self-care for themselves. They assist in prenatal and parenting classes, and teach women a trade, like sewing or crocheting purses. Here is a story about one of the women in their program:

Today was one of those days when the women's program did its job. It worked. I don't know how the end result will turn out but I saw women surrounding one of their own and coming to her aid with what they have learned. In our program we have two groups. Prenatal; and then Child Development after the baby is born. A young girl Chelor (pronounced She-Love) has been coming on and off since she was pregnant. She lives in a hostile situation where she is clearly not welcome, neither is her baby. Her breast feeding efforts have not been going well and they claim her baby is cursed. She wants to go back to the village because she has no where else to go.Chelor is just a young girl who does not know how to be a mom and does not do well processing the information we give her. Her baby, Love Kendy, has gained little weight since his birth three months ago and he is failing to thrive. Everyone is frustrated. We try encouraging her, showing her how to hold the baby and so on. She is not getting it and he is not getting the milk he needs to thrive.

Today was heartbreaking. She would put him to the breast for just seconds, he would fuss, she would be agitated, he would cry. They just weren't a team - weren't working together for the milk to flow.Several experienced breast feeding moms gathered around Chelor and helped her position the baby. It wasn't working. Another mom took the baby, put him to her breast and fed him. For a long time. It may be the only real meal the child has received. Ever. Wet-nursing mom showed Chelor how effortless and stress free this should be. All moms were giving opinion, encouragement and we gathered around Chelor to pray God's protection around her.

This young girl is steeped in superstition, believes in curses, is too stressed out to feed her baby who is also stressed and pulling away from her. It is a dire situation. I hope and pray we helped her today. I cried because of how bad Chelor's situation is and I also cried because I saw women gather around her and function as a women's group - all helping another hurting woman. That's how this program is supposed to function. Women learn valuable information and life skills and pass it on to other women.

Women in Haiti are often denied basic learning and growing opportunities. They are stuck in superstition and misinformation. Often babies die because a mom is missing basic care-giving skills. We are seeking to change this woman by woman week by week. Pray for Chelor and Love Kendy!

-Beth McHoul

Perhaps this story of women gathering around each other can inspire us to gather around other women of the world and share our own resources. If you would like to hear more about how this program changes the lives of women, or if you would like to donate toward their efforts, check out Heartline Haiti's website.
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 This post is sponsored by BeforeYou.

I have always been a curator. Ever since I was small, I loved keeping records of memories. I was a stellar diary-keeper and an impeccable pen-pal. I saved everything. I made books and collages and loved hanging pictures in my room. Eventually, I became a scrap-booker . . . keeping detailed books full of photos, ticket stubs, and other mementos.


It’s no small wonder that I was drawn to blogging. I love that I have this space where my kids can read my thoughts and see snapshots of their childhood. I would give anything to read about my mom’s process when I was a kid. I hope that reading my account of our lives will be a gift to my kids, and that it can encourage them in their own family life.



I think storyelling is so important for our kids. It helps solidify their memories. But more than that, it creates a shared narrative about our family. I think shared memories and stories strengthen the bond we have with each other. And science actually shows that kids who know more about the history of their family are more secure in their own identity, form stronger attachments in relationships, have higher self-esteem, and express more confidence in the bonds of their family. Given the unique aspects of my own family, I think that telling our story and a strong connection to that family story is a huge priority.



However, I have to admit that in the past few years, my efforts at telling our story have not been as strong as I'd like. I'm finding less time to blog. I'm worried about privacy issues as the kids are getting older. I no longer want to do all of that family storytelling in public . . . but I still want to make it a priority, just for us. The blog is no longer a place to track our family narrative as a whole because I want to protect it a bit more. But I still want to tell it. Just for my kids, but not for the public.

I also found that I was taking less photos during the process of my divorce. I was sad about the state of my family. It wasn't a time we were making great memories, and I felt ambivalent about family photos since our family had a question mark hovering above. I'm happy to say that I've snapped out of that, and I feel that as a single mom, it's every bit important to memorialize our family. Family photos of me and my kids are a visual reminder that regardless of the divorce, WE ARE STILL A FAMILY.





And then there is just the issue of time. The constraints of being a working mom mean that I have less time for making scrapbooks or even posting photos. And with the advent of the digital age, I find that I rarely, if ever, actually print my photos. All of my memories seem to live on my iphone or in folders on my computer. I don't love that, but I often feel like I'm too busy and overwhelmed to do something about it.

I've been looking for a modern solution to this and discovered the BeforeYou app. It’s an app that allows you to capture and share family stories with your kids. You can create memories around family events, trips, and traditions, and your kids can look from their own device. It's like scrapbooking, but digital. It's a great way to organize photos and video in one spot, around significant family events.

BeforeYou is modern storytelling made easy. It’s simple to add text, videos, and images to your family timeline. They've got prompts to help you fill everything in. I've been enjoying the process of going through and creating vignettes of our vacations and from this summer. If you would like to try it, check out their website, or get the app here. You can also take a look at some compelling research on the importance of family narratives at this page.




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Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.


WEDNESDAY'S CHILD: 9-year-old Shane wants a dad who will tell him he's awesome - YouTube
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We’re talking about drinking and when to know when it’s a problem with Kerry Cohen, author of Lush: A Memoir.  Many of us like a glass of wine or two to wind down at the end of the day, and there is a preponderance of cultural references to women and drinking as a kind of social contract. Kerry helps us unpack that messy middle between healthy drinking and full-blown addiction.
In this episode we talked about:


Podcast (selfie): Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS
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