It’s been 4 years since I’ve been home. Why 4 years, you ask? Because this blogger doesn’t fly.
I know, I know. It’s the safest form of travel. You can spout off statistics all day long and I still won’t board a plane. Call me crazy. Especially when you hear that I drove, (yes, drove) to Connecticut, which is about 1600 miles from Oklahoma City … with a 4-year-old. Yep, that’s me, the crazy lady.
But to be honest, it was amazing. The drive was long, but my son was terrific on the drive up and back. Thank goodness for car DVD players! It took us about 2 1/2 days each way and we were able to stop at some fun spots along the way, such as the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo., and the Ohio State Fair on the way back. The Great American Road Trip. That’s what we were on.
The best part, though, was going home. Seeing all my family, some dear friends, including a girl I’ve known since I was 5, and even Simba the family cat. It was a two-week whirlwind. Trips to museums, the beaches, and of course, New York City. My son was in heaven when he stepped foot into the largest Toys R Us – the one in Times Square. He got to meet his heroes, Iron Man and Spider-Man. It doesn’t get any better than that for a 4-year-old boy. And the train ride back to Connecticut to boot. He was in awe.
Seeing his Gwennie (his grandma) and grandpa, his Uncle Will and great-grandparents was such a treat. They spoil him and he knows it. Family friends were calling day and night, wanting to catch a visit with us. With some, we could fit it in, with others, we just couldn’t make it this trip.
Now, I’m back in Oklahoma and find myself missing home. I may sound like Dorothy, but there really is no place like home and no one like family and lifelong friends. I know I won’t be able to wait another 4 years to go back, airplane or not.
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
Bonnie Harris, author of the new book “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With (Adams Media, September 2008),” has plenty of tips for parents seeking solutions for morning time struggles between children and parents.
Several are listed in today’s Life section of The Oklahoman. Here are more of Harris’ tips to transform stressful mornings:
1. Decide what the best morning routine is for everyone. Make a chart. If you have a white board, write each agenda item with a box next to it for your child to check off when done.
2. Pick out clothes the night before.
3. Make lunches the night before.
4. Go over the next day’s schedule the night before.
5. Remind children to get backpacks ready before the bedtime routine starts — don’t expect this to be done without reminders unless you have an especially organized child.
6. Establish a rule that anything you have to do concerning homework is done the night before or it doesn’t get done.
7. Get up earlier and get your personal routine done before waking the children.
8. Ease your child awake with a smile and a back rub — unless she uses an alarm clock.
9. If you’re creative, prepare a “fancy” breakfast menu to present to your children when they get up. This can be a once in awhile option.
10. If things are not going smoothly, even silently acknowledge everyone’s agendas.
11. If your child is cranky, validate how hard some mornings are to get going and that you often have the same problem. Each day is different.
12. If there is a particular problem your child is dealing with, acknowledge the problem, and offer help and support without trying to fix it.
Bonnie Harris founded The Parent Guidance Center (now The Family Center) in Peterborough, N.H. in 1990, which is dedicated to parent education and support. She is the director of Connective Parenting and has designed and taught parenting workshops and counseled parents for 20 years. Sign up for her e-newsletter by going online to www.connectiveparenting.com.
If it’s a TV show that has parents and teens talking on the subject, so be it.
“Hopefully the talk will lead to some positive discussions for some young people because we have been ignoring them for too long,” Rodine said.
Some critics have jabbed at the new ABC Family show “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” saying that it focuses on sex too much and that it plays a lot like a soap opera parody, but others, like Rodine and leaders with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, say it has folks talking and that’s worth a lot.
Rodine said it’s often hard to get people in Oklahoma to see how much teen pregnancy has become a concern.
“Between 2005 and 2006, and that’s the latest data we have, the births to teens in
“It’s an alarm bell going off because, in so many ways, we’ve become complacent.”
Rodine said it’s sometimes hard for people to relate to numbers so she found another way to describe the problem.
“How do we help the public understand what this means? To help put this in perspective I tell people that the number of teens giving birth in
“We need to say ‘diplomas before diapers’.”
With that said, here are some national statistics from the National Campaign to ponder:
– The teen pregnancy and birth rate has declined dramatically since the early 1990s (down 38 percent and 32 percent respectively), driven by decreased sexual activity and increases in contraceptive use. Even so, recent data shows that the declines in teen sex and improvements in contraceptive use have leveled off. And the teen birth rate is on the rise for the first time in 15 years.
My four-year-old son earlier this week brought home his school’s first fundraiser (sort of): a Scholastic Book Club flyer.
While it provided a great opportunity to buy inexpensive books without leaving my house, I also felt somewhat guilty.
I assumed there will be other club flyers this year, so I only bought three books. I also assumed his mother would buy books.
However, would I be a bad parent if I didn’t buy at least one item from my son’s school fundraisers, including $1 books from the Scholastic Book Club? I’m a newbie at the whole public school thing.
Any help would be appreciated.
Write comments below to share with others, too.
— Brian Sargent
Click to send me an e-mail
I have tickets to OU’s season-opener this Saturday. First, I am a bit suprised that you have to buy a full-price ticket for a 2-year-old but according to the athletic office “any human being going into the stadium needs a ticket. Even infants.”
Yeah, I guess infants would fall into the “human being” category, although I couldn’t imagine bringing one to a game. But a toddler, well, that may or may not be worse.
I hope I’m not crazy to try this, but maybe he’ll have a blast and we’ll have an extra activity to add to our fall calendar. Has anyone tried it? If so, give me the lowdown and some good tips if you have them.
I had three calls yesterday … one from my Mom, one from my sister-in-law and one from an old friend. All called to wish me the same thing … a happy Father’s Day.
Many kids grow up in a household of a single mom. These are the moms who fulfill both roles – those of a mom and a dad. Among our many duties, we are the disciplinarians, the lone chauffeur, the lending ear, the entertainment, the teacher, the security blanket and most importantly, the beacon of unconditional love.
When you do it all, sacrificing unselfishly and without a second thought, you deserve to be celebrated … twice. I never really thought about it that way until yesterday.
So to all single moms everywhere, I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day. You deserve it.
Happy father’s day, dads! Please visit our Father’s Day page to honor those fathers whose children wrote in to say how special their dads are.
Great daddies go fishing, cook pizza, give lots of hugs, and work hard for their family. Some daddies work three jobs, plant gardens, ride horses, and they have fun with their kids even when they are really tired.
These are some of the attributes mentioned in letters and e-mails sent by children from towns throughout Oklahoma for the “Why I love my father” contest sponsored by The Oklahoman. There are lots of great Oklahoma daddies, and they are all winners in the eyes of their children.
Colorful artwork showing daddies and the kids sharing outdoor activities under bright happy sunshine accompanied some of the contest entries. Others wrote poetry, or included a photo. Several children wrote about how much they appreciate their stepdads, others about being adopted. They describe daddies who are kind, caring, willing to serve their country, help keep the city safe in their jobs as police officer or state trooper. Kids say they love to go out for ice-cream with their dad, ride bikes, and have help with homework, and scouting projects.
They wrote about their dad’s love for animals, how he never lets them down, goes through cancer treatments, attends school events, and loves their mother.
Daddies may not think their children notice all they do for the family, but the letters demonstrate the kids notice everything, and many of them listed the attributes of their special dad one through 10.
It’s all about love, and that came through in every letter, e-mail and drawing. Some entries arrived on notebook paper, poster paper, and a 13-year old girl wrote her letter in gold ink.
All of the dads are winners, and rate Number One.
What age is old enough to take in the Indiana Jones movies?
My 7-year old was fascinated by the chases and fights in “The Last Crusade” as we watched it on cable last week. I’d have turned it off, but I really wanted to watch it. S
hould I take him to the new movie? Generally, we only attend animated features at the theater.
However, I’m the same dad that introduced him to Star Wars three summers ago when he was 4, and he became a freakishly devoted fan (though we waited until after he was five to let him watch the final movie, and them we fast-forwarded in the gruesome final scene).