Last weekend, I took my son (he’s almost 4) to see “The Blind Side.” Given the rating and subject matter (football), I thought it would be OK to take my boy to see it. And it didn’t disappoint. It was a fabulous movie and really tugged at the heartstrings. My son wasn’t wrapped up so much in the storyline, but he was definitely into the football scenes. And of course, he loved “Big Mike.”
When we got home, he says, very matter-of-fact, “Mommy, Big Mike is brown. What color am I? Am I brown?”
OK, so I really wasn’t expecting that. I was a bit tongue-tied, I must admit. I don’t want him to think he’s different than someone else based on skin color. But I didn’t want to lie to him either. What’s a mom to do?
Call her mom. That’s what.
My mom had some great advice and told me exactly what to say.
“Hunter, God made us all different shades, like paint on a palette. Like snowflakes, no two are alike, and that makes each of us very special.” Then she suggested I show him how my skin tone is even a little darker than his. He seemed very satisfied with that and went on with his day.
Whew! Good answer, Mom. She really does know best.
Ever been asked a difficult question by your toddler? How did you handle it? Let me know by commenting here or by e-mail. I’d love to hear your stories.
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.
Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department has planned some FREE summer activities for kids. Here’s some fun you and your children can get in on:
FREE Kids’ Fishing Classes
For ages 5-15, these classes teach casting, knot-tying, fish identification, angler etiquette and fishing regulations. No license or permit required and equipment is provided. Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
July 25 – Dolese Youth Park Pond, NW 50 and Meridian
June 20, Aug. 22 – Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15
July 11, Aug. 8 – Metro Tech Springlake, NW 36 and Springlake Drive
July 18, Aug. 15 – Edwards Park Lake
City Pools are now open and admission is free all summer. They include:
Northeast Pool, 1300 NE 33
Woodson Pool, 3405 S. May
Carson Pool, 8301 S. Villa
Minnis Lakeview Pool, 12518 NE 36.
Swim lessons are offered for kids and adults at all area pools for $20 per session. For more information about lessons, or to get a free parks & pools guide, call 297-2211.
Play in the Park
This annual program offers FREE supervised activities such as arts, crafts, games , reading and field trips for kids age 6 and older. 26 metro-wide locations have the program. Click here for more information.
Father’s Day Downtown
On Sunday, June 21, Dad gets in free (with a paid family member) to:
Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno
OKC Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City National Memorial, 620 N. Harvey.
So take Dad out on his special day and enjoy all downtown has to offer.
For more information about OKC Parks & Recreation’s events, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/index.html.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
I stumbled across a pretty valuable resource online today. COUPONS. Now, who couldn’t use a few more of those, right? But these aren’t just any coupons, this is the 2009 Exploring Oklahoma Kids Pass, which has tons of savings for Oklahoma attractions. And they’re good through the end of 2009, so you have plenty of time to start planning road trips or fun weekend outings.
Just go to exploringok.com/exploring-oklahoma-kids-pass to print off savings to these Oklahoma destinations (unless noted otherwise, attractions are in Oklahoma City):
Jump!Zone Party & Play Center
Unpluggits Playstudio, Edmond
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Oklahoma River Cruises
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, Shawnee
Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, Bartlesville
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, Seminole
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton
Andy Alligator’s Fun Park, Norman
Toy & Action Figure Museum, Pauls Valley
Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton
Harn Homestead Museum
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, Duncan
Simmons Center, Duncan
Paint N’ Station
Bouncin Craze, Edmond
Gaylord Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum
National Rt. 66 Museum, Elk City
OKC National Memorial & Museum
HeyDay Entertainment, Norman
Double Dave’s Pizza, Norman
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman
Oklahoma Aquarium, Jenks
Sooner Legends Hotel & Restaurant, Norman
Oklahoma History Center
Marland Mansion, Ponca City
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman
Camp McFadden, Kaw Lake/Ponca City
Orr Family Farm
Oklahoma Children’s Theatre
Stafford Air & Space Museum, Weatherford
Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse & Adventure Quest, Enid
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma City RedHawks
Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium, Tulsa
Oklahoma Railway Museum
McFadden Cove Marina/Kaw Lake Association, Kaw Lake/Ponca City
Science Museum Oklahoma
Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel
Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz
White Water Bay
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
My son recently turned 3. At that very moment (literally!) everything changed.
At 3, most toys are somehow instantly safe. Go down any toy aisle, and the recommended age for toys is 3 and up. Sure helps not to have to worry about him choking on small parts anymore. Or having to order the “3 and younger” toy at the drive through.
At 3, toddlers have their first dental appointment. My son will go Monday. The best part? Parents are told to wait in the waiting room. I don’t have to be the one to restrain him while he’s throwing a fit during his cleaning.
At 3, they see the pediatrician for the annual checkup. Best part? No shots. That changes on the 4-year-old visit, but that’s a whole year away.
At 3, they get to start all kinds of sports. My son and I are very excited about him finally being old enough to be on T-ball and soccer teams at the YMCA this year. Let’s burn off all that extra energy.
At 3, they are officially out of the mommy-and-me swim classes. In fact, parents are not allowed anywhere near their 3-year-olds during swim class. Hooray! No more bathing suits until summer. Which gives me another 2 months to get in shape.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
It was the weekend we have been patiently waiting for … the opening of the exhibit “Dinosaurs Unearthed” at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
Saturday morning, my son had a toddler class at the zoo and even though temps were in the 30s, we still made the trek down to see the dinos after his class. He hesitated to go in at first, hearing the growling of these massive beasts from outside the exhibit tent. But after a little coaxing, he walked in, astonished at what greeted him.
The exhibit has huge, seemingly life-size dinos, skeletons, bones and even a sand pit for the kids to play in, to find dino footprints. All the favorites were featured – the triceratops, stegosaurus and of course, the T-Rex. They were animatronic models (think Jurassic Park) and some could even be controlled by the kids.
If I had to sum up this exhibit in one word, it would be AMAZING. I highly recommend a visit to the zoo to see these dinos. The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily and runs through June 30. It is free with paid zoo admission. I’m sure we’ll be spending many weekends among the dinosaurs between now and the end of the June.
For more information about the exhibit and other events at the zoo, go to www.okczoo.com.
Here’s just a taste of what you can see at the exhibit:
Here’s just a few things that are on my mind now: London, yogurt, the Jonas Brothers movie, nightmares caused by school required reading of some books, potty training, finding daycare (see Erica’s post), time change, the one chocolate donut on my desk, Twitter (I still don’t understand it), that I need to wash my van, whether to buy a lottery ticket, what load of laundry to wash and throw on the couch next, high blood pressure, cholesterol (the donut package says it has no trans fats, but it has 25mg of cholesterol), my family photos need to be scrapbooked, what are we going to do Spring Break, what are we eating tonight (no donuts), temper tantrums, my sticky kitchen floor … how nice it is outside.
Let’s all take 20 to 30 minutes and go for a walk and clear our heads.
– Linda Lynn
One thing I can say is that I was reminded once again that this is TV — entertainment with a capital E.
I kind of thought one of the scenes with the parents was a bit too much, considering that lots of teens watch the show. On the other hand, the way a teen’s parents function together — or don’t function together — certainly impacts the family dynamics. In that way, the scene was probably justified.
If you saw the episode, you’ll probably guess which scene I’m referring to.
Probably the biggest impact of this episode, in terms of realism, was the scene when Amy’s mother, portrayed by Molly Ringwald, told her daughter in no uncertain terms that she would have to get familiar with the idea that she would become a mother in just a few short months and HER ENTIRE LIFE AS SHE KNEW IT WOULD CHANGE FOREVER.
That is the best part of this new show, I think, getting that idea in teens’ brains: Babies change your life forever. Period.
The reality sank in for Amy immediately.
Guess what? She’s even more scared now than she was before … and rightfully so.
Here’s hoping that this show serves as a wakeup call for some teens.
Hey, and I’d love to know what you thought about this week’s episode. Don’t forgot to share your comments …
P.S., I almost forgot: What in the world is Grace, the show’s Christian girl thinking? She has proclaimed to her mother that she is now “in love” with bad boy Ricky, the father of Amy’s baby. I’m thinking that she is very naive and a lot like so many girls out there.
The show, which began July 2008, has been called realistic by some, downright campy by others.
Either way, the dramedy about a pregnant high school girl may be of interest to teens and their parents.
I enjoy the show because it brings up some interesting scenarios that today’s teens and their parents (myself included) can discuss in an informal setting.
The show airs on Mondays this season and I’ll likely blog about it each Tuesday. It would be great to get some feedback/comments from others who watch the show as the season continues.
The issues raised on the show hit home particularly in light of Staff Writer Susan Simpson’s story about teen pregnancy featured in today’s Oklahoman.
The story notes that Oklahoma’s teen birth rate is among the nation’s highest, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disase Control and Prevention.
The story went on to quote Sharon Rodine, director of youth initiatives at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, as saying that 2007 data for the state also shows an increase in teens giving birth.
Having said all that, I won’t comment on this week’s “Secret Life” season premiere because some folks might not realize that the new season has begun.
I’ll drop you a hint about the premiere’s focus, though: Something old, something new …
My 14-year-old started reading the Twilight book series sometime last year and got hooked. “A book series on vampires?” I thought. “Should I question what she’s reading?” But one of her middle school friends just loved the books.
And, when “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth book, was due out in bookstores she could hardly wait.
Another friend bought her a T-shirt with a verse something like: “The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.” … I made her exchange it for a different shirt. I couldn’t help think that the T-shirt was just a bit inappropriate for a young teen. And, when I walked into Hot Topic, the hip store with body piercing studs, tons of scary images on T-shirts and lots of black – It was like the anti-Claire’s of the mall – I couldn’t help feeling just a little conspicuous and a lot uncomfortable. But I wanted her to at least get something toned down.
For her birthday, she received more Twilight stuff – a really cute zip-up hoodie, but, still, I teetered on the edge of whether this was a good thing.
Then comes the movie. My 28-year-old niece and her mother suggests we all go together. Me? me? Maybe I can get out of this. But it sounded fun just because I would be with my two sisters and their daughters and my daughter. OK. I’ll try it.
When the previews began, the movies were gruesome, scary films. Oh, no! What have I done?! I’ve just brought my teenaged daughter to a slasher, blood-sucking vampire movie! My older niece who is in college even covered her eyes.
Then, the movie started ….. And I loved it! I plan to read the books.
Now, I’ve seen it twice. Some friends have seen it three, four and five times! These are women my age!
Although my husband is tired of me raving about the movie, my friends aren’t. He made the comment that I was acting just like a “14-year-old.”
Well, my daughter might disagree. But there’s worth in finding an interest in something your daughter likes. She doesn’t seem to want to talk about it with me. She’d rather talk about it with her friends and cousins.
So, I’ll just talk about it with the rest of my “14-year-old-going-on-45″ friends.
– Linda Lynn