It's time to give up the (water) bottle

If you're a parent you can't help but be concerned with the environment lately. Especially when you think about it in terms of what kind of environmental problems we are leaving behind for our children. Often, I think, we feel helpless, like there's just not that much that we can do to make a difference. But, this weekend when I read the New York Times Magazine article about how much garbage water bottles alone are making for the planet, I realized how much difference one little change can make.

I have always felt guilty drinking water from a plastic bottle (and the idea of paying for water has always annoyed me,) but I never stopped buying water because it's convenient and for some reason putting water in a plastic sports bottle just tastes terrible. It's like I can taste the plastic. Thus, the feeling of helplessness (violins swell here.)

Finally, though, a couple of things have pushed me over the edge. Besides the above mentioned New York Times article and the overall growing sense of urgency to make changes in our lives to help protect the environment, there has also been the news about the danger of plastics leaching into our food. For a long time the hard plastic bottles that water is sold in were thought safe, but now they are finding that they also leach carcinogenic plastics even when kept cold. Babies, children and pregnant women are especially susceptible to hormone and endocrine damage caused by leaching plastics found in plastic sippy cups, water bottles and even baby bottles. Yikes!

Just as I was fretting over the global problem of plastic water bottles, in a wonderful moment of synchronicity, my friends came over this weekend toting beautiful aluminum water bottles for everyone in their family.

Blunder on, parents, it's all good.

Moms seem to have an endless capacity for self-doubt and insecurities about their mothering skills. I won't try to conjecture why that is, but I did see a quote in the New York Times that sums up the feeling quite eloquently.

I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everybody and everything. One lives only to make blunders.

Keep a Special Sick Day Toy

Sun Prints are pictures you make by creating shadows on photosensitive paper. By laying objects on a piece of sun print paper and then exposing it in a sunny windowsill, you create your own image. There's really something magical and poetic about it. When I was a kid, Sunlight Prints were the thing that my mom pulled out whenever I was sick and stayed home from school. I don't know what gave her the idea of reserving a special toy for sick days, but it was brilliant. Like a cheesy Campbell's soup commercial, I would be laying sick in bed, and when my mom walked in with the sun prints, my face would light up with a smile (Begin commercial montage of me spending quiet, but happy hours in front of a sunny window making prints).

The Dangerous Book for Boys, a Safe Bet for Father's Day

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden is like a brain scan of a twelve year old boy 30 years ago. It's filled with fun and educational information like The Greatest Paper Airplane in the World, The Five Knots Every Boy Should Know, Slingshots, Making a Bow and Arrow, Timers and Tripwires, Famous Battles-Including Lexington and Concord, The Alamo, and Gettysburg, Spies-Codes and Ciphers, Navajo Code Talkers' Dictionary, Stickball, Fossils, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and Skimming Stones; the stuff every kid used to know and now it seems like none do.

If you live in the city, you may be wishing your child had a backyard so you could take advantage of this kind of fun. But, I believe that this stuff is just as doable in the city, and maybe even more important for city kids. Just about any of the activities in the book are just as doable in NYC as anywhere. Go skim stones in central park, fishing in the Harlem Meer, or stickball in the schoolyard. Kids used to own the streets of NYC. Maybe it's about time they took them back.

Encouraging kids to get back outside playing traditional games, The Dangerous Book for Boys is finding itself part of a wider resurgence to restore the innocence of childhood and child play. In these days of earlier and more frequent high-stakes testing, over-scheduled childhoods some parents are starting to push back. Several groups have been formed to promote the slowing down of childhood. New York Voices for Childhood is a group of parents and educators that have joined together to lobby the schools to make old-fashioned play part of the curriculum. I don't know if it's appropriate or ironic that they don't have a website, but if you are interested in joining or finding out more you can find their contact information here.

How a camera phone could save you thousands (in therapy)

Capturing those rare sibling hugs...priceless

When we had our second child we were stricken with second child guilt in all the familiar places. No, our number two doesn't have a baby book, I have no clue how old he was when he rolled over, I'm even a little shaky on what his first word was. There's no video of his first steps, um, there may be no video of him at all.

He ate candy before his first birthday, I nursed him 4 months less than I nursed number fact perhaps the only thing I may have done right with number two was getting a new cell phone.

That doesn't sound right, but for my birthday I received a new Motorola KRZR K1 Phone with a 2 megapixel camera and it has made all the difference between the great likelihood that my second child's toddlerhood would go completely unrecorded and feeling a little bit guilty that I may now take more pictures of him than my older child.

We are family, all my fellow NY bloggers and me

I thought it might be nice to put together a list of NYC kid-related blogs, but it's been surprisingly challenging to find other NYC parenting and mommy blogs. Over the last couple of months I've been adding to my list, but if you have a NYC parenting blog or know of mommy blogs I've missed please add them to the list. And if you have a blog invite your readers to come over and add their blogs. I think it will be great to have a roll call here that we can all see who else is out there. I've found some great sites and I'm looking forward to finding more.

After these messages, we'll be right back…

Sorry the posting came to a halt there. I've actually been tied up creating some exciting new advertising for one of my clients. So we'll be right back, after I get theses ads wrapped up.

I am going to try to get back to posting more often, but I also welcome and encourage readers to contribute. If anyone out there is interested in writing about living with kids in NYC, ideas of things to do or even general ideas on enriching our lives with children please email me.

Freakonomics: What Makes a Prefect Parent?

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner is a book that’s been around for a while, but I figure if I’ve just gotten around to reading it there are plenty of others who haven’t read it either. I had heard the buzz about this book, but hadn’t really paid much attention to it until one of my fellow PTA uber-moms told me that the book says that being on the PTA is the most significant thing you can do to assure academic success for your children. Well, that got my attention.

It turned out that her interpretation was a little bit self-serving, but it got me to read the book, and it is a great book, so I forgive her. If you haven’t read Freakonomics I highly recommend you pick it up.

You could say Freakonomics is either a book that takes a unique look at the world through the eyes of an economist, or is a unique take on economics by using it to look at the world - depending on whether you are an economist or a civilian. If you are a parent, especially an obsessive, urban parent, you will be quite anxious to read the chapter entitled, "What Makes a Perfect Parent?"


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