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Is Your Family Prepared for Summer Emergencies?

A few years ago my parents, husband, brother and I were playing a game called Worst-Case Scenarios. In it, players pit their wits against situations like bear attacks, deadly flora, armed assailants and the like – things we wouldn’t usually experience in our day-to-day vanilla lives.

If you’d asked me to predict the winner, I’d have gone with my brother, a trained mountaineer. Or my husband, an Air Force veteran. Or my father, a lifelong hunter. Who won?

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You Did Not Just Say That

Kids say the cutest things. Nothing can melt a parent’s heart more than hearing “I love you, Daddy” or “You’re the best mommy” from a 5-year-old.

Once they get in public, however, some of the things that come out of their mouths aren’t so cute. In fact, they’re downright embarrassing, or worse, hurtful to an intended target. I mean, how can you prevent your kid from announcing to the world you wore your holey underwear today because you haven’t done the wash in a week?

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Reinventing the Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle

I’ve always loved going to concerts. In college, I became a music reviewer so I could get free tickets to all the shows and hang out with the bands. When Mr. P and I were dating, we regularly hit The Duck Room and Scottrade Center to see our favorite performers.

But when the Little Ps made their debuts, our pseudo rock star lifestyle gave its final curtain call. For instance, I’m dying to see The Black Keys at The Pageant on Thursday, but I feel 3-year-olds probably don’t belong in a sweaty, booze-infused dance pit in front of the stage.

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Only One in Three Teen Girls Are Getting the Vaccine to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Whenever I read the latest health news, I feel a little surge of pride when a new study comes out of Washington University in St. Louis. This latest one also stirs emotion in my heart for more personal reasons.

First, the study: Researchers found that only a third of teen girls ages 13 to 17 in the six states surveyed received the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, or HPV. While in adolescence HPV is thought of primarily as a sexually transmitted disease, in older women it becomes a factor in most cases of cervical cancer, which was diagnosed in 11,000 American women last year and will eventually be fatal to 4,000 of them.

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The Fine Print on Vegetarian Options

At my son’s school, today was orientation day for returning families. When it came time to talk to the lunch coordinator, I asked the same question I’ve been bombarding her with since the year began: Why aren’t there more vegetarian options? My 7-year-old chooses to avoid meat, and I dutifully support him, but with only two or three meatless meals offered over the course of a month, and peanuts off the table as an option due to allergy concerns, I wind up packing a LOT of cheese sticks and crackers.

She replied that it depends on your definition of vegetarian – some pizza companies still use mozzarella and parmesan made with animal rennet, so technically that wouldn’t really be vegetarian either. As I sat pondering how to respond to this non-answer, the mom next to me paused in her paperwork and asked, “What’s rennet?”

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Not All Presents Have to be Plastic

Throughout the summer, our weekends are packed with birthday parties, including those of the little Ps.

Our toddler’s first birthday is just around the corner, and our families have been asking what they can get her for the big day. I’m at a total loss – we don’t even know what to get her. Not only does she have boxes of hand-me-down toys from her sister and cousins, but I myself get the shakes every time I see the plastic avalanche in the closet ready to engulf us when we open the door. Barbie and Polly Pocket are packed in there like it’s ladies’ night at a martini bar. 

So I started asking around to see what other options might be good for our little one as she approaches the big 1 and to help other parents facing the same dilemma.

Give unto others

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of compassion. Instead of drowning your child in toys and gifts, give him one or two and let him choose books, art supplies and DVDs he can donate to a children’s nonprofit. For example, Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center's Patient Wish List outlines some great donation ideas. Or select a foster child through the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition’s Birthday Buddy program and ask your party guests to donate gifts to a child in need in honor of your son or daughter. Either way, your child can help brighten another kid’s day.

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Safe Sleep for Little Babies

Over the past two decades, infant deaths due to Sudden Infan

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Behind Peanut, Pumpkin and Pooh-Bear

A couple of years ago, my friend started calling his 3-month-old Matthew “Money” after the Weird Al Yankovic lyric – “I call him ‘Money’ for short.” The name became so engrained in the family’s life that one day when my friend’s wife mentioned planning a party for Matthew, my friend was confused for a moment who Matthew was.

As parents, we all come up with silly little nicknames that bond us to our kids, from the pointless (my husband and I call our 3-year-old by her initials although she already has an insanely short name. Three letters are a mouthful, man!) to the warm and fuzzy (my best friend calls her son Sam, Sam-a-Lam-a-Ding-Dong).

So why do we reach for nicknames after spending nine months choosing the perfect names for our little ones? It’s pretty simple, according to Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard and the brain behind “Baby nicknames are more for the parents than the babies," she said via e-mail. "We're expressing our emotions through the names. Also, a grown-up name like Sebastian or Victoria can be something you have to grow into. If your baby is being giggly or wiggly, a more giggly-wiggly name may fit the moment better. And the babies like that we're making silly sounds with big smiles on our faces!”

I love hearing how people come up with their nicknames, so I asked some friends to share the stories behind their choices.

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Mom Athletes Share Their Secrets

Think battling for dominance on the soccer field or roller derby rink is tough? Try following up two hours of heart-racing competition with a load of laundry, a stack of bills and two little ones needing baths. 

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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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