There’s the old joke when a 16-year-old gets a driver’s license that everyone better “watch out.” It’s usually followed by a laugh that the young driver doesn’t really appreciate.
Well, today my “baby” got her driver’s license. I’m sure she’ll hear plenty of remarks, some in fun, some congratulatory.
But, for my husband and me, it’s scary.
As I said, she’s our “baby.” She will always be, no matter how old she gets.
Lacking the mileage of an experienced driver, she isn’t as quick to react. And, like any driver, she can make mistakes.
After riding with her the other night, there had been a discussion of my hesitation when I told her whether a lane was clear. After we were home, and we’d destressed a bit, I sat down with her.
“The decisions you make when you’re driving are life and death decisions,” I told her. I didn’t like having the conversation, but it’s exactly what every driver needs to be told.
I remember when I first got my license, and I’m sure my driving wasn’t perfect. If it had been, my mother wouldn’t have been applying the invisible brake on her side of the car every time she rode with me.
Now, I seem to be pressing on the invisible brake when I’m in the passenger’s seat. It’s annoying to my daughter, but it’s just a reaction on my part.
Although we’re still not ready to let go and give her full reins of the car, I know this rite of passage will be helpful in the future. Those early morning band rehearsals, trips to the store for last-minute items, meeting friends … these are all reasons that another driver in the family could prove useful.
Friends and family also are encouraging. They’ve experienced first-hand how it made their schedules a little more manageable.
I’m not sure we’re ready, but she is. She is moving forward, growing.
I just want her to keep in mind the responsibility she carries with her every time she gets behind the wheel of a car. My baby’s in that car.
Then how about a mountain adventure? For kids a little bit older (my 3-year-old is probably still too young) there is an area to go mountain climbing that’s easy and fun for families.
Check out this blog if you are up for hitting the trails:
If you’d rather save your adventures for the movie theater, then you might want to catch a showing of “How to Train Your Dragon.” Our reviewer says it is one of Dreamworks Animation’s best films, and she gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
Read the full review here:
I came across an interesting post by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It lists 21 healthy New Year’s resolutions … for kids.
For preschoolers, it includes:
- I will clean up my room.
- I will brush my teeth twice a day.
- I will wash my hands.
For those age 5 to 12:
- I will drink milk and water, and limit soda and fruit drinks.
- I will apply sunscreen when going outside.
- I will play a sport or do another physical activity 3 times a week.
- I will wear my seat belt.
- I will be nice to other kids.
For age 13 and older:
- I will eat at least one fruit and vegetable every day and limit soda.
- I will choose non-violent TV shows and video games.
- I will help out my community.
- I will resist peer pressure.
- I won’t text or use a cell phone when driving.
For the entire list of resolutions, click here.
I have my own list of resolutions in regards to my 3-year-old son. Here’s my top 5:
- I will find time, no matter what, to read to him 20 minutes a day, every day.
- I will find a way to get veggies in his diet. (I think I said this same thing last January, too.)
- I will get him to think that cleaning up his play room is actually fun.
- I will be sure he stays active year-round. We’re starting off right with winter basketball.
- I will find some new and exciting places to bring him (taking suggestions!).
Do you have any resolutions you’d like to share? Comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The time around the holidays is when the Oklahoma City offers some of its most fun things to do. Don’t let the cold scare you away … you’ll enjoy great events, specials and you won’t be fighting the crowds.
Here are some upcoming events at the zoo:
Nov. 25 – Free day. No admission fee! Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 27 – Feast for the Beasts. Some animals will be feasting on traditional Thanksgiving dishes from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
December through February – Free zoo admission every Monday!
Dec. 1 – 24 – Deck the Zoo. Bring and edible wildlife ornament and get admission to the zoo for only $1!
Dec. 5, 12 and 19 – Cupcakes with Santa. Kids can decorate their own holiday cupcake. They’ll create some unique holiday crafts and end the day with a visit from Santa himself. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Cost for children age 3 and older is $20 for ZooFriends members, $22 for nonmembers. Adults are free with a paid child. Pre-registration is required and must be made one week prior to the event. Register online at http://okczoo.recware.com or call 425-0218.
Dec. 5 – Wreath making class. Everything to make a holiday wreath will be provided. Cost is $20 for ZooFriends members, $25 for nonmembers and the class is for age 16 and older. Register at the same site or phone number listed above.
Dec. 7 – Coffee Connections. This is a new, FREE program for ages 16 and older from 9 to 10 a.m. Meet at the Rosser Conservation Education Center to learn about the zoo and its happenings while sipping a cup of joe.
Dec. 14 – Santa is stopping by the zoo to delivery goodies to the animals from 10 to 11 a.m. Guests in the Canopy Restaurant can enjoy free hot chocolate and doughnuts and get pictures with Santa. Activity is free, no reservations are required.
Dec. 29, 30 – Winter day camps are available for ages 4-11. They are from 9 a.m. to noon and cost $20 for ZooFriends members, $25 for nonmembers. Snacks will be provided, but bring a lunch. Advance registration and payment are required. Enroll at http://okczoo.recware.com or call 425-0218.
For more information about upcoming zoo events, go to www.okczoo.com.
If you visit one of the libraries of the Metropolitan Library System and haven’t enrolled your child in the summer reading program, you’re missing out on some neat prizes.
“Be Creative @ Your Library” is a free program for children and teens. Just to get you and your child started, you’ll get a packet with all kinds of free goodies: stickers, a coupon for free tots at Sonic, a couple of bookmarks, a reading log, free admission to local attractions and a chance to win tuition from Oklahoma College Savings Plan.
Then all you need to do is read 8 books to your child to reach your first goal. Do that, and your child gets a really nice award ribbon, and coupons for free food at area restaurants.
For each goal met (8 books, 8 hours or 800 pages read) , your child is entered in drawings for really cool prizes. There isn’t a list of books, and you don’t have to just read books checked out of the library (although kids do love getting new books to read).
So sign up today at your local Metro Library branch or go to www.metrolibrary.org for more information.
~Erica Smith, copy editor
My oldest child just graduated eighth grade. Yes. I said graduated.
Had there been caps and gowns, my high school graduation would have been dwarfed by the fanfare at Katie’s last day in middle school.
Don’t get me wrong. This was an important achievement in her school career, but after sitting through two hours of musical performances, speeches, awards, name announcements and a slideshow that followed the kids from babyhood to their teen years, I was a little tired.
I didn’t cry. I did enjoy the moment. I filmed it, took pictures, everything you do at a graduation. But I fear high school graduation.
A friend of mine suggested the attention the students were already getting might detract from upcoming ceremonies. I’m not sure. I just thought it might be a little “over the top” for this age.
Or is it simply a celebration? We should celebrate the little accomplishments, the medium accomplishments and the big accomplishments in our children’s lives.
After the ceremony, Katie and her friends wandered the halls, seeking out teachers, saying goodbye. Then, mothers and daughters enjoyed lunch together …. Then, the girls went to their elementary school to reminisce with grade school teachers. Later … a party, a sleepover.
I’m sure they were all exhausted.
Now comes high school.
– Linda Lynn
First lady Kim Henry faced a common parenting dilemma Tuesday and handled it with panache.
Henry received a Peace and Dialogue Award that night from the Institute for Interfaith Dialog. In accepting her award, she apologized for being late, saying the dinner had coincided with her daughter’s soccer “senior night” in Shawnee.
Henry explained that the senior night, an evening in which high school senior athletes are recognized, had been scheduled for last week, but weather issues prompted the event to be postponed to Tuesday.
So Henry, and her husband, Gov. Brad Henry, opted to attend the senior night activity before heading to the awards dinner instead of missing their daughter’s special event and arriving at the banquet on time.
I had the feeling that most moms at the awards presentation, and probably dads too, knew exactly how she felt. Many of us have faced that particular issue before.
One got the feeling that Henry has no qualms about putting her family first.
While I’m sure she treasurered the award she received that night, the smile on her daughter’s face when her parents were on hand to share her especial evening was probably an award — reward — all its own for the first lady.
At what age should my daughter be allowed to become a mallrat or venture out on her own?
This week, Katie, my 14-year-old, asked if she and a friend could be dropped at the mall on a Friday evening to see a movie. This is not the first time this discussion has occurred at our house. And, once before, my husband did let her see a movie with friends without supervision, but it was during the day.
The first time I let Katie even walk the mall alone with friends was at her 14th birthday party. But I stayed and pushed her little brother around in a stroller while they “did their own thing.”
Skenazy encourages parents to let their children roam and experience new things by themselves, empowering them to be individuals and not live in fear.
I admit this is just the opposite of how I continue to raise my children. I know I’m “too” protective by some standards. Yes. I used to roam all over our 200-acre farm when I was younger. I would go fishing and exploring by myself. And, although it wasn’t my choice, at 14 years old I walked the streets of Washington, D.C., when I was separated from my Close Up tour group. The next day, about five of us (without adults) rode the subway and toured our nation’s well-known monuments and museums.
I loved the experience.
So, why do I try so hard to shelter my children from their own adventures?
I live in fear of ”what if.” I read the newspaper. I watch the news shows. And I’m appalled and scared by what might could happen.
Is there maybe a happy medium? But what would that be?
Share with me your stories of letting your children experience independence. Do you let them walk alone to school, the grocery store or snowcone shack? What are your limits on your children’s independence?
– Linda Lynn
*Summer can be a time of fun, sun and relaxation but it’s also a season with it’s own dangers. In an effort to bring summer safety awareness to the forefront, I will be writing a weekly series of summer safety topics, starting with last week’s post about the importance of protecting children’s eyes from the sun.
The weather is warming up and that means more children will be playing outside, and at one point or another, that means near or in a pool, pond or lake.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list drowning as the second-leading cause of unintentional death among children age 1 to 14. Children age 1-3 are at the greatest risk. 90% of drownings occur in residential swimming pools and retention ponds near the home. Most were last seen in the home and had been out of sight for less than 5 minutes. The majority were in the care of one or both parents at the time and were not the result of parental negligence.
Startling statistics, but one thing really stands out to me: The majority were not the result of parental negligence. So that means it can happen to you, to me, to our friends and family. Most of us aren’t negligent parents. We want to protect our children and we always have the best intentions. But looking at these statistics, drownings happen under the care of the most responsible parents, in the smallest amount of time, which is why this is such an important topic.
Steps to prevent drownings include:
1. Barriers. Pool fencing can help prevent children from gaining access to the pool area. Back yard ponds can also be fenced in or a mesh cover can be used to cover them. Install a four-sided fence that completely separates the pool or pond from the house and play area of the yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet tall. Use self-latching gates that open outward, with latches out of children’s reach.
2. Life jackets. Whether swimming in a pool or at the lake, life jackets are a must. According to the CDC, in 2006 9 out of 10 who drowned in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. DO NOT use air-filled pool toys as a means for floatation or in place of life jackets. These are toys, not life-saving devices.
3. Watch. Designate an adult to watch a child in the bathtub, swimming in or playing near any pool or body of water. Remember, a drowning can happen in less time than it takes to answer the phone. The designated adult should not be involved in any other activity than watching the child(ren). That means no mowing the lawn, reading or talking on the phone while having the child(ren) in your care.
4. Learn CPR. You are the first responder should a child start drowning. In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, you can have already saved your child’s life. The American Red Cross has classes in the metro area year-round.
5. Learn to swim. Take heed, however, that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend this as a primary means of drowning prevention for children younger than 4. Classes can be taken at the local YMCA, or check your city’s community centers for class offerings.
6. Swim with a buddy. Make sure older children never swim alone. Using city pools or parks with lifeguards is also a way to enjoy pool activities with an extra layer of safety.
Let’s keep our children from becoming a tragic statistic this summer. It’s worth the extra effort to keep them safe so they can enjoy many summers to come.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor