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School Stress - The Mommy Edition

In just a few weeks, my 4-year-old’s preschool starts once again. As her excitement runs wild, my anxiety is jogging right alongside it.

Between work schedules, daycare, preschool, soccer, tumbling, family events and, on a very rare occasion, a social life, our home turns upside down the day school starts. Trying to stay on top of everything can be overwhelming for any parent, so instead of burying my stress under a king-sized Kit-Kat, I turned to two experts to help solve my most pressing organization dilemmas.

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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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Things to Do

Toddler Tinker Time
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers. Weekday mornings, Tuesday through Friday, families will enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Studio, plus private playtime featuring limited capacity in Wonder Works and Wonder Why.

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Petite Picasso Virtual Art Classes for Kids
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Magic House now offers a virtual art experience for children – multi-sensory Virtual Petite Picasso classes. Classes are taught live from the Art Studio at The Magic House, and a different art activity is featured each week! 

 

 

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How Are You Holding Up? Here's What Experts Say About Coping With Anxiety, Stress and Uncertainty

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