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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,, 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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Steering Toward the Minivan

Last week, while my SUV was in the shop, I headed down to the car rental agency to pick up my mid-sized coupe.

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The Challenge of Limiting TV Time

There seems to be a relatively new problem, with a unique theme, in my household: a Yo Gabba! Gabba! craze. It started about a year ago when our 1-year-old discovered television. This was primarily a result of my wife and I looking for ways to sooth her when she was upset or not feeling well.

Perhaps this was an error in judgment. We are well aware that television is not recommended for the under-2 crowd. But when a child is sick and despondent and the whole family is exhausted and miserable, then you just try to make things as comfortable as possible.

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Handmade in Our Hometown

I’m not crafty. I wish I was, but I’m not.

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Terrible Twos Times Two?

Our pediatrician is a master at prepping parents for the year ahead. So after hearing what he had to say about 4-year-olds, I am bracing myself.

Kids this age are independent, willful, determined and dogged. All of these would be qualities I’d prize highly … if they weren’t already being employed in getting a cupcake for breakfast or two more games on the Wii or an extension on bedtime.

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What's Happening on our Facebook Page

We love to interact with our readers on Facebook. If you're not a follower on our Facebook page yet, now is a great time to join us. We periodically conduct giveaways to great St. Louis family attractions directly from our Facebook page, and this week, we're giving away four tickets to see Nick's Storytime LIVE at the Fox Theatre on July 16. You can view and like our Facebook page here.

This week's contest is called BRING IT. The Facebook friend that brings the highest number of followers to our page by Friday at 3 p.m. wins the tickets. It's that simple. And they're great seats!

In previous Facebook contests, we've given away tickets to Cardinals games, kids CDs, and more.

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Surprising Sunscreen News

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about sunscreens among my friends. Turns out some contain ingredients that may disrupt the way hormones work in our bodies or actually do more harm than good when it comes to skin cancer.

With all the unknowns around increasing rates of everything from autism to type 2 diabetes in kids, a lot of parents are nervous about everything that goes onto and into their children. A few years ago, I was hearing similar “what-if” stories from the eco-parent types who were avoiding plastic drinking cups and bottles due to concerns about bisphenol A (which the government’s National Toxicology Program puts in the “some concern” category for developmental toxicity). Back when they first started talking about BPA, few of us knew what it was – and now, of course, BPA is pretty much a household term among families with infants and toddlers.  I suspect things could go the same way for oxybenzone in sunscreens.

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Missouri Makes a Decision about Common Core Standards

Some folks send their kids to school and trust that institution to properly preparing their children for the future.

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How Much Sleep Do Preschoolers Need -- and Are They Getting It?

Last week there was a major conference of sleep researchers in San Antonio, Texas. Usually reading through scientific abstracts like the ones presented there is a sure-fire way of inducing drowsiness, but I found several that actually made me sit up and pay attention.

The most interesting one looked at around 8,000 preschoolers to find out whether their bedtimes and how much total sleep they got had any effect on their overall development. My youngest son just turned 4 today, so I was curious—and I was surprised by what I learned.

The results may surprise you, too. But first, a pop quiz on how well you know your bedtime facts.

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Let's Go Gardening

Each day, our kids are blasted with ads for greasy, cheesy, sugary, processed foods. It’s no wonder they turn up their noses when you present them with a bowl of veggies. Unless, of course, the vegetables are deep-fried and doused in Ranch dressing.

One way to get kids involved in making healthy choices is to bring them back to square one – and that’s in the garden. When children play a role in growing their own food, they’re more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables and learn a new sense of responsibility.

“Gardening teaches kids about being care givers,” said Gwenne Hayes-Stewart, executive director of Gateway Greening, via e-mail. Her organization promotes gardening partnerships for community development. “Consequences of poor care are evident nearly at once. Just as apparent are the consequences of paying attention to what plants need. Kids pick up on this quickly. No water, the plant dies. Too much water, the plant struggles. Making sure to check the soil first, and bingo, success!”

You still have time to introduce your kids to the benefits of gardening this summer. Although it’s getting too late to plant many fruits and vegetables, you’re only a few steps away from a delicious harvest this autumn.

Said Debbie Tolstoi of Garden Heights Nursery by e-mail, “In August, sow seeds for the fall season such as spinach, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, beets, turnips, radish, cilantro and dill. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants should be available in nurseries in late August or early September.”

I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve thought it myself – planting and maintaining vegetables sounds like too much work. Believe me, I definitely don’t have a green thumb – it’s more like the black thumb of veggie death. However, Tolstoi had some excellent tips that make planting a garden a snap:

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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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