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Oh Dear, Oh Dear - Here Comes Ramona

Imaginative, mischievous children are among some of the most memorable characters in children’s literature.  There is the brave Madeline, the capricious Eloise, the hilariously mouthy Junie B. Jones - no shortage of strong young girls full of ideas and energy, with big hearts and the confidence to come into their own. But the girl who will always stay with me, who made her appearance in the 1950’s but was just as reachable to me in the 1980’s and to kids today, is stubborn, pesty Ramona Quimby.

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Grieve Out Loud – Support in a Time of Loss

Wendy Warren was 24 ½ weeks pregnant with her second child when she was placed on bedrest at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. 11 ½ weeks later, her son, Elijah, was born, but because of Potter’s Syndrome, a birth defect in which the kidneys fail to develop, the Warrens only had a few precious hours with their child before he passed away.

Each year, thousands of parents across the U.S. leave the maternity ward without a child in their arms to face a world of sadness and isolation. Yet, for individuals like Warren, they’ve also discovered a world of hope and support via the Internet.

“After Elijah was born and then shortly passed away, the women that I found online were the only ones I could turn to,” she said. “No one else in my life had any idea what I was going through.  I could share my feelings freely, and these women knew exactly how I was feeling.”

During Warren’s time at St. John’s and through her relationships on the web, a connection was made with another mother going through a similar loss. A connection that in time would help other grieving parents around the world.

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Back-to-School Physicals

With the start of school just a few weeks away, it’s the season for students to get physicals. My kids think of these visits as a time to get poked and prodded, and they’re not big fans. But I’ve found that the Q&A with our pediatrician is invaluable.

Many families schedule these exams with their own family doctors, but there’s also the option of going to an urgent-care clinic for physicals. And once you have the appointment, you should think about just what you want the doctor to check for. Like, say, cholesterol.

Really? For elementary kids?

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Bring A Touch of Tea Home

Over the past couple of years, the phrase “tea party” has taken on a political connotation. But back in the day, a tea party was synonymous with white gloves and petit fours, or in my case, Cabbage Patch Kids, teacups full of tap water and Little Debbie’s Devil Squares® cut into fourths.

In an overstimulating world packed with iPhones, Wiis and DVRs, occasionally it’s nice to escape to a simpler time, especially if pastries are involved. That's where Carol Richardson of A Touch of Tea comes in.

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Have You Seen What Your Kids Will Want to Be Eating?

I’m a newspaper and magazine junkie. I’ve cut back, but I still subscribe to more than I can realistically read, especially in the summer when the boys are underfoot. So when an article about food ads targeting kids  caught my eye recently, it wasn’t a huge surprise that the paper in question arrived last week … sigh. The story ran in the Post, but was written by Jessie Schiewe of the Los Angeles Times, and cited a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago that analyzed trends in advertising aimed at kids.

Researchers used Nielsen ratings from 2003, 2005 and 2007 to compare what products showed up most often in ads on kids’ shows. Turns out that the foods featured in ads are less sugary but more fatty – cereals, candy bars, soda and cookies have been replaced by fast food, diet soda and bottled water.

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HBO Focuses on Homelessness

Every night in the United States, children fall asleep in a home that’s not their own. Instead, their bed may be in a homeless shelter, in a car or, in some cases, the bushes.

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Looking for Romance? Look Across the River!

St. Louis is a perfect place for a couple of stressed-out parents to find romance.

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Waitress and Working Mom Shares Her Parenting Secrets

Your first thought when meeting Chuck-A-Burger employee Brenda Helton, is, “What an incredible server.” The second, after hearing about her tenure at this St.

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Star Party

“Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”

Most of us have wished upon the first star in the nighttime sky with this little rhyme. But it’s not going to work if you’re wishing on a DirecTV satellite. Maybe it’s time to figure out what you’re looking at.

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What Planet are You From?

Among the many books I can’t put down this summer is Michael Chabon’s Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son. Though our 1-year-old son “gave” this book to my husband for his birthday, I find myself reading it right along with him. It is not a kids' book of course, but it calls up childhood in so many wonderful and honest ways.

At one point, Chabon is reflecting on the “wilderness of childhood,” describing this time in one’s life as “the great original adventure.” He writes: “For the most part the young adventurer sets forth equipped only with the fragmentary map – marked HERE THERE BE TYGERS and MEAN KID WITH AIR RIFLE – that he or she has been able to construct out of a patchwork of personal misfortune, bedtime reading, and the accumulated local lore of the neighborhood children.”

Reading this, I was reminded of one of my favorite picture books and another splendid summer read, Earth to Audrey by Susan Hughes.

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Peek-a-Boo, I See You

At birth, vision is one of babies’ least-developed senses. It catches up quickly by the time they’re about 4 months old, and their eyes are one of their most important tools for learning about their world. But that’s not to say that all kids have 20/20 vision – any genetic conditions like farsightedness, nearsightedness or lazy eye are already present, and screening can catch them. That’s important, because as much as 80 percent of what children learn as preschoolers and elementary students comes to them visually.

Only 15 percent of preschoolers get vision screening, according to the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation. That’s why it offers free eye checkups to youngsters at preschools, child care centers and public venues like the Saint Louis Science Center, where it will host a free screening event Aug. 6 to 8.

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If You Allow TV Time, This Show Seems OK

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the current challenge in our household regarding limiting television time with our 2-year-old. This challenge persists, and its origin can firmly be pointed directly at Yo Gabba! Gabba! But we do like and approve of this show.

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My Own Personal Twilight

My 1-year-old plays for Team Edward. I know this because every time I wear a sleeveless top, she rears back and sinks her six super-sharp baby teeth into my pasty upper arm. And she does this at the most inopportune times. Like in the middle of church so that my yelp of pain interrupts the sanctity of the sermon.

So why is my docile little girl out for blood?

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The Top Three Things Not to Feed Your Kids

I love it when “expert” parents give the rest of us a little peek into their day-to-day lives. That’s why I was psyched to be invited to hear Dr. Jim Sears speak on kids and nutrition Thursday evening. The Web site he and his equally well-known parents oversee, AskDrSears.com, is one of my go-to sources of information on the Internet, and I’ve read a couple of their 40+ books.

His down-to-earth presentation didn’t disappoint – and neither did the snapshots into the lives of his 12-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter.  He mixed just the right amount of common-sense advice with guilt-inducing medical viewpoints and self-deprecating humor, starting with the topic of junk food.

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Kids in the Middle – Support During Divorce

Divorce is hard on everyone involved, but for children, it can be particularly heartbreaking.

In 2009, 1,837 parents of minor children filed for dissolution of marriage in St. Louis County, not to mention the 800 in St. Charles County and up to 500 in St. Louis City, according to Kids in the Middle, a nonprofit organization that helps children, parents and families thrive during and after divorce through counseling, education and support. In the middle of these life-changing decisions are thousands of children who may be feeling lonely, lost and anxious.

“When people ask me, ‘Is my child affected by divorce?’ my answer is every child is affected like every parent is affected,” said Judy Berkowitz, executive director of Kids in the Middle. “Sometimes you can see the effects in behavior and sometimes you can’t.”

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Things to Do

Barks 'N Books Reading Day at Purina Farms
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Visit the newest interactive reading experience for kids in the St. Louis area – Barks 'N Books Reading Day at Purina Farms! This free book reading features USO comfort dogs and gives your kids the opportunity to read to them. Reservations are not necessary.

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Disney's 101 Dalmations Live on Stage

Join the evil Cruella De Vil and her two klutzy henchmen as they try to steal a litter of the cutest puppies ever to hit jolly old London Town. But not to worry, this fur-raising adventure ends happily with plenty of puppy power to spare! This production of Disney's 101 Dalmations is performed live on stage by STAGES St. Louis at the Robert G. Rein Theatre in Kirkwood, with special daytime performances perfect for little ones. 

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Circus Flora: The Caper in Aisle 6

Circus Flora, St. Louis' original one-ring circus, is now in its 33rd season! This beloved show is an unbelievable mix of excitement, charm, daring, and comedy, all under an intimate Big Top setting. See mesmerizing circus acts, storytellers and performers in this year's show, The Caper in Aisle 6. Daytime and evening shows are on select nights through June 30 with special 10 a.m. performances for young children, a sensory-friendly performance and a special Peanut-Free Preview night for those with nut allergies. 

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Volunteers Needed: 15 Places in St. Louis Where Your Teen Can Make a Difference This Summer

Whether your teen is an artist, an athlete or an animal lover, they can help make the St. Louis region the best it can be with their time and talents, and gain valuable experience in the process.

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Sleep-Away Camp: Then and Now

Last summer, I was introduced to the wonders of modern-day sleep-away camp when my daughter spent a week at one for the first time. And let me tell you – these kids have it good. Real good. I went to sleep-away camp too, when I was a kid, and let's just say things have changed. Here are just a few of the differences between then and now.

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Play Street Museum Brings Kid-Sized Fun to The Streets of St. Charles

With its shops and restaurants, The Streets of St. Charles has become the go-to for grown-ups in the region. But now kids have a place here to call their own at Play Street Museum.

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Accumulating Children: A Beginner's Guide

The key to successfully going from one, to two, to three kids is really just learning how to determine whose immediate need is more life-threatening. Plus, you stop judging parents who put their kids on leashes.

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