("Mom." "MOM." [walk over, open door.] what. "Do x-rays give you skin cancer?" no "I thought they were bad for you." well kind of, the old kind, but let's not talk about it now, go to sleep. "How are they bad for you?" i don't know. "No really, tell me, how are they bad for you." no really, I don't know. "If you don't tell me I"ll just lie here imagining how they might be bad for you." and so on....)
Telling kids that they are smart will make them dumb. That's the gist of New York Magazine's cover story, Praise is Dangerous. It's actually a pretty interesting topic for parents on several different levels.
1) There's the modern parenting culture of making our kids into "praise junkies" by just praising them constantly to try to inflate their self-esteem.
2) There's the issue that what parents are really trying to do when we do this is to stroke our own egos.
Whoever said, "the journey is the reward" has never traveled through holiday traffic with a car full of kids alternately puking and whining about how bored they are.
If you're planning on traveling with kids anywhere for President's Weekend or Mid-Winter Break, I suggest preparing for a family trip as if you are going into battle. And you should always head out for war well-armed - and no chintzy government-issue armor here, I'm talking about the good stuff - like what cops get.
That's where momsminivan.com comes in. It's a homespun site written by Laurel Smith, self-made traveling-in-the-car-with-kids guru. The site has games and activities for babies, toddlers and kids. There are games you can print out, including travel bingo sheets. The site is so chock-full of kid travel ideas you might actually make it to Aunt Sadie's without hearing a single, "I'm bored!" But if just seeing that someone is so organized it makes you sick, there's even a list of car sickness prevention tips - she really does have it all covered.
There's some pretty good children's television out there today, but go back and watch some clips from the old Sesame Streets of our childhood and it's really amazing what they were doing. Artsy, adorable, witty, silly, insightful and emotional. It's all there. They're so wonderful they'll make you feel old and young at the same time.
The Museum of Natural History is great, but there's only so many rainy days you can stand staring at those damn dinosaurs. The Met and MoMA feel virtuous, but, depending on the kid, not necessarily reliable alternatives.
Wouldn't it be great if there were other museums - museums that offered a wide range of experiences, had free family programs and weren't as crowded as a Japanese subway car? If only NY had museums like this, families would never even think of moving to the suburbs.
Well, Mommy Poppins, ever eager to keep the price of family-sized apartments astronomical, has sleuthed out 5 museums, all within walking distance of each other, that offer a day of educational and creative fun.