Abolishing Childhood Obesity- at least making a dent in it….


All my life I have battled the battle of the bulge. I was a stocky kid, developed quite early, and had kids call me the “f” word more times than I like to remember. I don’t remember anyone talking about eating differently, or for that matter, that I needed more exercise. I bowled and took ballet on a regular basis. I was never in the house – I was outside and stayed out until the streetlights came on. I PLAYED when my mother would send me out to play. I didn’t wait for her to give me something to do – I made up my own games, my own dramatic play, and did this for most of my early and middle childhood. As a child of the ’70’s sports were not promoted as they were when my kids were little. Flyers weren’t sent home to my parents talking about signing me up for soccer, basketball, or softball, so my Saturday mornings were usually filled with TV. I know it sounds bad, but it really was the only time I watched TV unless I was getting ready for school. Compared to the kids today, I was a lightweight tv viewer.

I do remember Saturday morning blurbs between my favorite TV shows talking about making “healthy” frozen treats by pouring orange juice into the slots of an ice cube tray and then sticking toothpicks in the middle and freezing them for an hour.
or the same character always made me want a hunka cheese:

These were fun to watch and try at home. Even on a rainy day.
In the news today it was reported that a 200lb eight year old was placed into foster care when his mother took him to the doctor to get medical treatment for his asthma. Social workers in Cleaveland, Ohio said that the parents were not doing enough to control his weight.
Schools across this country serve lunches that fail to provide the proper nutrition that children need to maintain their wait and help with their concentration –
Check out this documentary on what two moms decided to do about it:

The first step in the fight against childhood obesity is to acknowledge that it does exist. My family treated my fat as if at some magical age it was going to fall off me. I would wake up one day and the “baby fat” would be gone. Voila!
It didn’t happen.
Once our nation, our state, our town, our community accepts this as fact, then education can begin and change can begin to happen. here are the latest findings from a RAND study regarding kindergarten-age children:


There is a lot of information on how to do this online. Here are a couple of sites to get you going:

Playworks: http://www.playworks.org/

SPARK –http://www.sparkpe.org/blog/

The National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition:

American Association of Pediatrics’ partnership with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move It!” resources and additional links to information on this topic:

Do pass this information along to your friends, families, and peers. We want our kids and future generations to live long and healthy lives. We need to do our part as child advocates to make this a reality. Advocate for more play in our preschools, child care facilities, and public schools. Check menus. Pack a healthy lunch. Evaluate the physical education programs in the local schools. There is a lot we can do as a community if we set our minds to the task.


One Source of Chaos in a Child’s Life: DIVORCE


I know this topic all too well. I was a child of divorce and I went through my own divorce when my kids were about the same age as I was when my parents called it quits.
My parents divorced officially when I was ten. This is what I remember most about that time:
1. My mother constantly screaming at my dad.
2. Taking long walks with my dad around the block and watching tears roll down his face.
3. Listening to arguments about how my dad liked to break the visitation rules when all he wanted to do is watch me bowl in my Saturday morning league on weekends when he didn’t have the “right” to see me.
4. My mother trying to find herself – leaving me with a babysitter on a Friday night or Saturday night because she had the “right” to happiness too.
5. Watching both my parents bring adults in and out of my life that I felt some attachment to, then one day they were gone.

So my story doesn’t involve living in squalid conditions and neither of my parents were drug addicts. They didn’t beat me or my brother nor did they beat up on each other, except verbally, and oh the one time my mother threw a hot cup of coffee on my dad in front of me, some of it actually splashed onto my nightgown.
From kindergarten through sixth grade I attended the same elementary school, and to my recollection, I was the only kid whose parents divorced. Thank goodness I had Girl Scouts and ballet and bowling to keep me steady. But did I have scarring? Yes. Was I hurt? Yes. But in the ’70’s no one knew exactly how to help kids get “through” divorce. I remember some well-meaning person handing me a book with a neon-pink book and that was suppose to be the salve on my heart. I, apparently, was one of the few children that did not blame myself for my parent’s split. The blame laid squarely on my mother, from what I could see – through that in with the beginning of puberty – and it was the closest thing to hell that I knew of in my lifetime. It was bad enough that my parents were not together, but I had strangers in my house that I had to adjust to – one of them was one of my dad’s best friends. Statistics show thatToday, approximately 24 percent of children are born into a cohabiting household. Additionally, 20 percent more children will spend sometime in a cohabiting household with an unrelated adult some time during their child. That means that a more than 40% of children will experience a living situation that includes cohabitation.

The divorce statistics have stayed fairly steady since the ’70’s. One out of every two marriages fail in the United States. Most of the kids that attended the infant center I worked in were products of second marriages or other types of relationships. Children who live with mothers who were not married but living in a cohabitation situation were 170% likely to see that situation disseminate by the time they reached their 12th birthday:

These kids tend to live close to poverty (as single households tend to do) and are at a higher risk of abuse than those children who come from “in tact” families.
Young children who experience recurrent abuse or chronic neglect, regularly witness domestic violence, or live in homes permeated by parental mental health or substance abuse problems are particularly vulnerable….

“All of these situations are stressful for children. Persistent activation of biological stress response systems leads to abnormal levels of stress hormones that have the capacity to damage brain architecture if they do not normalize. In the absence of buffering protection of supportive relationships, these hormone levels can remain out of balance. Known as toxic stress, this condition literally interferes with developing brain circuits, and poses a serious threat to young children, not only because it undermines their emotional well-being, but also because it can impair a wider range of developmental outcomes including early learning, exploration and curiosity, school readiness, and later school achievement.”

We as child care advocates – yes all of us are – need to be aware of this type of stress in our own children and children in our care and help them the best way we can, namely to keep our environment steady, loving, and supportive. Provide resources for families who ask for help. Lend an ear to a mom or dad who just had a rough day at work. Blowing off a bit of steam before going home and dealing with home stress may lessen the stress for the children. Just some ideas to keep in mind……

Spain – Divorce American Style….

Up until 1981 marriage was a forever thing in Spain, but since divorce was legalized, and the mandatory legal separation step in the divorce process was abolished in 2005, Spaniards divorce at the rate of Americans, approximately one divorce for every 2.3 marriages (Bernardi and Pastor-Martinez, 2011). Cohabitation before marriage is rare in this mostly Catholic country (73,2% according to the National Institute of Statistics, 2010), thus most children in Spain are born into a traditional nuclear family. (Bernardi and Pastor-Martinez, 2011). Spanish women tend to be more educated and live in a dual earner model of marriage at the time of divorce, thus economic concerns do not seem to play a part in their decision. This bodes well for the children of these parents. They do not seem to have the same psychological outcomes and fears as do their American counterpoints – but it is yet to be played out over generations. Divorce is a relatively new in Spain, and it will be interesting to see if as women choose to back away from traditional nuclear family choices and move toward more liberating Western lifestyles, and how this will affect their children and country. Few Spanish children are born out of wedlock and so there is very little professional research done on this population. Parents who divorce are required to provide “maintenance” for the children in the manner in which they are accustomed, and it seems that this system is effective. There is familial pressure to maintain stability for the children, and so far, this seems to be a plus in the Spanish culture. I hope this does not change any time soon.


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2006. Children of divorce facts for families. Fact Sheet. Retrieved on November 25, 2011 from http://www.aacap.org/galleries/FactsForFamilies/01_children_and_divorce.pdf

Bernardi F., Martinez-Pastor (2011). Divorce risk factors and their variations over time in Spain. Retrieved on November 25, 2011 from http://www.demographic-research.org/Volumes/Vol24/31/24-31.pdf

Picture Book Month


“Picture books are important because they are with us for life. They are the most important books we’ll
ever read because they’re our first. No matter how many books we’ve read since, they will always have a
place in our hearts.” – Dan Yaccarino from his Picture Book Month Essay

Before November is totally a chapter in history – I thought I would share with you that those who love love picture books have named November as National Picture Book Month. I love books and can be seen at numerous libraries picking through the boxes of books that the “friends of the library” wish to sell  in hopes of finding a rare gem. Sometimes I find one of my favorite childhood books and sometimes I find a book that I remember using for a lesson when I taught preschool.

As a child I was given a book about a young girl going to the hospital to get her  tonsils out. It was called “Good-bye Tonsils.” It was part of the “Little Golden Book Series” that most kids collected back in the ’60’s and ’70’s. I am quite sure that a relative gave me that book when I got my tonsils out, but I was two, and don’t really remember the experience, but I do remember that book. I had that book for many many years on my bookshelf.

My all-time favorite book is Arnold Lobel’s 1971’s masterpiece, The Ice Cream Cone Coot.

The Ice Cream Cone Coot 1971

I “read” this Arnold Lobel book so many times the pages fell apart. I did find a copy of this book at a library sale and gave it to my daughter for my grandson to enjoy.

Over the years I kept so many of my books – until my mom decided to give them to the Salvation Army one day when I was in high school. I don’t think she realized how much sentimental value they had, and so in some ways, I think I am always looking for those books at some yard sale or  thrift store.
So think about the books that made you smile as a child….and share them with future generations.

Happy Picture Book Month!!

The point of play is that it has no point…..Alfe Kohn…please read on….



rock n’roll
I just had to share this with my readers….it sums up all that I believe about play…wish I had written it myself!!!!!

How children’s ‘play’ is being

sneakily redefined

This was written by Alfie Kohn, the author of 12 books about education and human behavior, including “The Schools Our Children Deserve,” “The Homework Myth,” and the newly published“Feel-Bad Education . . . And Other Contrarian Essays on Children & Schooling.” He lives (actually) in the Boston area and (virtually) at http://www.alfiekohn.com. This essay is adapted from remarks delivered at the Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Forum in Providence, RI, on Nov. 12, 2011.

By Alfie Kohn

* Children should have plenty of opportunities to play. 

* Even young children have too few such opportunities these days, particularly in school settings. 

These two propositions — both of them indisputable and important — have been offered many times.[1]  The second one in particular reflects the “cult of rigor” at the center of corporate-style school reform.  Its devastating impact can be mapped horizontally (with test preparation displacing more valuable activities at every age level) as well as vertically (with pressures being pushed down to the youngest grades, resulting in developmentally inappropriate instruction).  The typical American kindergarten now resembles a really bad first-grade classroom.  Even preschool teachers are told to sacrifice opportunities for imaginative play in favor of drilling young children until they master a defined set of skills.

As with anything that needs to be said — and isn’t being heard by the people in power — there’s a temptation to keep saying it.  But because we’ve been reminded so often of those two basic contentions about play, I’d like to offer five other propositions on the subject that seem less obvious, or at least less frequently discussed.

1.  “Play” is being sneakily redefined.  Whenever an educational concept begins to attract favorable attention, its name will soon be invoked by people (or institutions) even when what they’re doing represents a diluted, if not thoroughly distorted, version of the original idea.  Much that has been billed as “progressive,” “authentic,” “balanced,” “developmental,” “student-centered,” “hands on,” “differentiated,” or “discovery based” turns out to be discouragingly traditional.  So it is with play:  “Most of the activities set up in ‘choice time’ or ‘center time’ [in early-childhood classrooms] and described as play by some teachers, are in fact teacher-directed and involve little or no free play, imagination, or creativity,” as the Alliance for Childhood’s Ed Miller put it.[2]  Thus, the frequency with which people still talk about play shouldn’t lead us to conclude that all is well.

2. Younger and older children ought to have the chance to play together.  Peter Gray, a psychologist at Boston College, points out that older kids are uniquely able to provide support — often referred to as “scaffolding” — for younger kids in mixed-age play.  The older children may perform this role even better than adults because they’re closer in age to the younger kids and also because they don’t “see themselves as responsible for the younger children’s long-term education [and therefore] typically don’t provide more information or boosts than the younger ones need. They don’t become boring or condescending.”[3]

3.  Play isn’t just for children.  The idea of play is closely related to imagination, inventiveness, and that state of deep absorption that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi dubbed “flow.”  Read virtually any account of creativity, in the humanities or the sciences, and you’ll find mentions of the relevance of daydreaming, fooling around with possibilities, looking at one thing and seeing another, embracing the joy of pure discovery, asking “What if….?”  The argument here isn’t just that we need to let little kids play so they’ll be creative when they’re older, but that play, or something quite close to it, should be part of a teenager’s or adult’s life, too.[4]

4.  The point of play is that it has no point.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or shudder when I read this sentence in a national magazine:  “Kids need careful adult guidance and instruction before they are able to play in a productive way.”[5]  But I will admit that I, too, sometimes catch myself trying to justify play in terms of its usefulness.

The problem is that to insist on its benefits risks violating the spirit, if not the very meaning, of play.  In his classic work on the subject, Homo Ludens, the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga described play as “a free activity standing quite consciously outside ordinary life as being ‘not serious’ but at the same absorbing the player intensely and utterly.”  One plays because it’s fun to do so, not because of any instrumental advantage it may yield.  The point isn’t to perform well or to master a skill, even though those things might end up happening.  In G. K. Chesterton’s delightfully subversive aphorism, “If a thing is worth doing at all, it’s worth doing badly.”

Play, then, is about process, not product.  It has no goal other than itself.  And among the external goals that are inconsistent with play is a deliberate effort to do something better or faster than someone else.  If you’re keeping score — in fact, if you’re competing at all — then what you’re doing isn’t play.

Implicit in all of this is something that John Dewey pointed out:  “ ‘Play’ denotes the psychological attitude of the child, not … anything which the child externally does.”  As is so often the case, focusing on someone’s behavior, that which can be seen and measured, tells us very little.  It’s people’s goals (or, in this case, lack of goals), their perspectives and experiences of the situation that matter.  Thus, Dewey continues, “any given or prescribed system” or activities for promoting play should be viewed skeptically lest these be inconsistent with the whole idea.[6]

Such is the context for understanding well-meaning folks (like me) whose lamentations about diminishing opportunities for play tend to include a defensive list of its practical benefits.  Play is “children’s work!”  Play teaches academic skills, advances language development, promotes perspective taking, conflict resolution, the capacity for planning, and so on.  To drive the point home, Deborah Meier wryly suggested that we stop using the word play altogether and declare that children need time for “self-initiated cognitive activity.”

But what if we had reason to doubt some or all of these advantages?  What if, as a couple of researchers have indeed suggested, empirical claims about what children derive from play — at least in terms of academic benefits — turned out to be overstated?[7]  Would we then conclude that children shouldn’t be able to play, or should have less time to do so?  Or would we insist that play is intrinsically valuable, that it’s not only defined by the absence of external goals for those who do it but that it doesn’t need external benefits in order for children to have the opportunity to do it?  Anyone who endorses that position would want to be very careful about defending play based on its alleged payoffs, just as we’d back off from other bargains with the devil, such as arguing that teaching music to children improves their proficiency at math, or that a given progressive innovation raises test scores.

5.  Play isn’t the only alternative to “work.”  I’ve never been comfortable using the word work to describe the process by which children make sense of ideas — which is to say, adopting a metaphor derived from what adults do in factories and offices to earn money.[8]  To express this concern, however, isn’t tantamount to saying that students should spend all day in school playing.  Work and play don’t exhaust the available options.  There’s also learning, whose primary purpose is neither play-like enjoyment (although it can be deeply satisfying) nor work-like completion of products (although it can involve intense effort and concentration).  It’s not necessary to work in order to experience challenge or excellence, and it’s not necessary to play in order to experience pleasure.

But there’s still a need for pure play.  And that need isn’t being met.


1.  See the work of the Alliance for Childhood, statements by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and such recent books as Deborah Meier et al.’s Playing for Keeps , Dorothy Singer et al.’s Play = Learning , Vivian Gussin Paley’s A Child’s Work , and David Elkind’s The Power of Play .

2.  Miller is quoted in Linda Jacobson, “Children’s Lack of Playtime Seen as Troubling Health, School Issue,” Education Week, December 3, 2008.  A few years later, Elizabeth Graue, a professor of early childhood education at the University of Wisconsin, made exactly the same point:  “What counts as play in many classrooms are highly controlled centers that focus on particular content labeled as ‘choice’ but that are really directed at capturing a specific content-based learning experience,  such as number bingo or retelling a story exactly as the teacher told it on a flannel board” (“Are We Paving Paradise?”, Educational Leadership, April 2011, p. 15).

3.  See Gray’s article “The Value of Age-Mixed Play,” Education Week, April 16, 2008, pp. 32, 26.

4.  One of many resources on this topic: the National Institute for Play (nifplay.org), founded by Dr. Stuart Brown.  Also, if you ever have the opportunity to see Saul Bass’s short documentary film Why Man Creates (1968), don’t miss it.

5.  Paul Tough, “Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?” New York Times Magazine, September 27, 2009.

6.  John Dewey, The School and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1915/1990), pp. 118-19.

7.  For example, see the reference to work by Peter K. Smith and Angeline Lillard in Tom Bartlett, “The Case for Play,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 20, 2011.

8.  Alfie Kohn, “Students Don’t ‘Work’ — They Learn,” Education Week, September 3, 1997.


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Call it shocking, Call it thought-provoking.”Yes. But what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better [infant death] rates than Milwaukee.” As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the campaign, unveiled last Wednesday, includes two posters of a baby lying in a bed next to a large knife. In one, the baby is white; in the other, the baby is black. “YOUR BABY SLEEPING NEXT TO YOU CAN BE JUST AS DANGEROUS,” the copy blares.

The second-leading cause of infant mortality in Milwaukee is SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, which often results from ”unsafe sleep,” according to the health department’s website. A form of “unsafe sleep” is bed-sharing with parents.
What I found interesting is that this made the national news.
World expert in the area of co-sleeping in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS, Dr. James J. McKenna, wrote the following in an article for the website, The Natural Child:
We do not suggest that sleeping with an infant can prevent SIDS or that it is perfectly safe. Indeed, where there are factors such as drug use in the family, maternal smoking, and a lack of knowledge about infant safety, co-sleeping might increase rather than decrease dangers to the infant. However, the circumstances mentioned above should not be confused with all co-sleeping situations. The sensory exchange that co-sleeping provides an infant, i.e., heat, sound, smell, touches, and movement, are sensory stimuli that the infant is designed to respond to in a positive way. Co-sleeping requires that specific precautions be taken to assure infant safety; this should not be mistaken for an argument against the potential benefits to infants, any more than a concern for crib design safety has been an argument against an infant sleeping alone.” (reference: http://www.thenaturalchild.org

The article is very careful not to say that co-sleeping is safe, probably for fear of litigation.
On a personal note, I never thought about co-sleeping with any of my children, except when I was truly exhausted and needed to rest while breastfeeding and would doze off occasionally. I am too deep a sleeper to risk harm to my children. I know culturally this practice has gone on in parts of the world since women started having children, but I had know knowledge of this concept until I began reading child-rearing books back in the ’80’s.
I wonder what the fall-out will be from this ad – I know that those who call the posted numb er on the poster will get a fold up crib, but I doubt anyone will call just for the “prize.”
If you would like to read more about this go to:



Imagine, or maybe you have experienced it yourself, walking into your infant child’s bedroom, peeking over the side of the crib and finding your child unresponsive and has ultimately passed on without any explanation. It is the unimaginable, and it happens in this country approximately 7 times a day.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, better known as SIDS is defined by The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the clinical history. SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion, assigned only once all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out. Approximately 2500 babies a year day are lost to this phenomena, which leaves parents with more questions than answers about what happened to their precious child.

That being said, it seems that that there is encouraging news in the fight against this tragedy, and the more this is publicized, the greater the chances that the numbers will continue to drop and babies will not leave this earth prematurely.

Researchers have discovered that babies whot are put to sleep on their back are less likely to die of SIDS. Since the “Back to Sleep” campaign started in 1994 to educate parents, caregivers, and health care providers about ways to reduce the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) the incidence of SIDS has dropped more than 50%. For more information on the Back to Sleep Campaign go to http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/.

For the record,

# SIDS is not caused by "baby shots."
# SIDS deaths occur unexpectedly and quickly to apparently healthy infants, usually during periods of sleep.
# SIDS is not caused by suffocation, choking, or smothering.
# SIDS is not caused by child abuse or neglect.
# SIDS is not contagious.
# SIDS occurs in families of all races and socioeconomic levels.
# SIDS cannot be predicted or prevented and can claim any baby, in spite of parents doing everything right.

Researchers have found that babies who are put to sleep on their back are less likely to die of SIDS. Since the campaign started in 1994 to educate parents, caregivers, and health care providers about ways to reduce the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) the incidence of SIDS has dropped more than 50%. For more information on the Back to Sleep Campaign see http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/ So if you have been in the field of child development for any length of time you have probably heard of SIDS. The campaign her in California was implemented with force;even my school age program had a place set aside on our parent board for SIDS information. Part of the research showed that when parents were educated about SIDS and to put their babies to sleep on their backs lowered the incidents of SIDS.
These findings held true in other countries as well.The International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death (ISPID) is a not-for-profit organization that is leading the world in discovering evidence-based preventive measures for SIDS, stillbirth, and infant death. ISPID is also working to promote improved quality and standardization of care for affected parents. This organization, along with First Candle, sponsor an annual conference for professionas to come together to talk about and share information about issues concerning SIDS, stillbirths and as the poster says, infant survival.

As with most things in life, the good news is coupled with some bad news. Even though the rates of SIDS has dropped significantly, infant suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia have increased. It has become increasingly important to address these other causes of sleep-related infant death. Many of the modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for SIDS and suffocation are strikingly similar. The AAP, therefore, is expanding its recommendations from focusing only on SIDS to focusing on a safe sleep environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS. The recommendations described in this policy statement include supine positioning, use of a firm sleep surface, breastfeeding, room-sharing without bed-sharing, routine immunizations, consideration of using a pacifier, and avoidance of soft bedding, overheating, and exposure to tobacco smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs.(www.healthychildren.org). Hopefully over time, the statistics will show a drop in these types of infant deaths and save numerous families from the grief of losing a child in such a manner. I have known families that have suffered such a loss, and their grief is indescribable to anyone who has not shared the experience.

It is good to know that the drop in SIDS has not only happened in the U.S. but abroad as well. The International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death (ISPID) is a not-for-profit organization that is leading the world in discovering evidence-based preventive measures for SIDS, stillbirth, and infant death. ISPID is also working to promote improved quality and standardization of care for affected parents. On their website they list statistics for cooperating countries which show graphically the drop in SIDS-related deaths before and after the back to sleep recommendations were implemented www.ispid.org/statistics.html
My Next blog post will introduce you to another organization that also deals with SIDS but also with older children who also die due to unexplainable causes: SUDC….

Child Birth


Well here I am – February 2002. This is my 3rd time around and this time I have complete control…I picked the day, the time, and the way I was going to give birth. This was my 4th pregnancy (I miscarried my first child) and I had two children- the first was the labor that would never end – which ended in a pitocin frenzy and a herniated tongue (mine, not her’s) from screaming my lungs out, and the second – a C-section from hell. Doctors, especially the heads of OB should make sure the anesthesia has done its job before making his first cut….what was I going to choose for this last and final journey into childbirth? The first consideration I had was the fact that I was over 35 this time and my pregnancy was considered high-risk. I looked into V-Backs and decided that I would rather not deal with any complications. I also figured that lightning COULDN’T strike twice, so I chose to have another C-section. I know, I know, I should have opted for a natural, no medicine childbirth, but I was a working mom and to be honest, just wanted to get it over with and move on. It sounds callas, I know, but it is true. And as you can see, I just had fun with it. I drove myself to the hospital at 8 in the morning, checked in, and by 8:30, in a very quiet OR, the first screams of my daughter could be heard all around the hospital. No complications, no issues with the anesthesia. Just the way I liked it I had them tie my tubes and my childbirth days were over. If fact it went so well I went home a day early.
Now I had my choice of how I wanted to experience childbirth, and while I know that in most countries the choice is whether to give birth in a hospital or at home, with or without medication, with or without a doula/midwife, the expectant mother should always be given the options and to choose which option fits her ideas of childbirth.
In most poor countries, it is similar to the US as women have choices of being at home or at a hospital experience childbirth, but the deciding factor is money or opinion of the necessity of giving birth outside of home.Researchers studying childbirth locations concluded that when families have the means, they give birth in government facilities or hospitals. Some women said that they prefer to give births at home because they did not trust the facilities in their area.
I did not find any research that indicated the romanticized idea of childbirth as the reason why a woman wanted to have natural childbirth.
Some countries like Israel, Malasia and Indonesia have taken Lamaze one step further and have doulas advocating Hypnobirthing

I am glad that my childbirth days are over, but glad that there are choices out there for women to decide how and where to have their birthing experience.
Reference: Montagu D, Yamey G, Visconti A, Harding A, Yoong J (2011) Where Do Poor Women in Developing Countries Give Birth? A Multi-Country Analysis of Demographic and Health Survey Data. PLoS ONE 6(2): e17155.

Play Again


There is a documentary floating around the world called “Play Again.”
Check out the trailer and pass it on to those who value our children enough to unplug them from technology and introduce them to nature.
“For many people, especially children, screens have become the de facto medium by which the greater world is experienced. A virtual world of digitally transmitted pictures, voices, and scenarios has become more real to this generation than the world of sun, water, air, and living organisms, including fellow humans.”

My question to you who work with children – how much time do your children spend outdoors?
When I was a director of an infant/toddler program, I had those children outside as much as possible. I put them in wagons and took them to the community garden that just happened to be located next to our center.
We laid out blankets on the grass, put the babies on the blankets and read books. Took art projects outside, “toys” outside, you name it, we were outside if they weren’t napping.
Kids need to connect with nature – it is good for their heart and soul.



As we begin a new class – I want to welcome all that are new to my blog and those friends who I have met in our Foundations class – glad to see you again!
Today I found this article to share with you from Darell Hammond viaHuffington Post regarding play. As the title of my blog suggests – I am a big advocate for play and I like to take opportunities to share my passion with all of you. Enjoy!

If We Don’t Let Our Children Play, Who Will Be the Next Steve Jobs?
Posted: 10/20/11 03:16 PM ET

Will the next generation have a Steve Jobs?

The forecast doesn’t look good. In an era of parental paranoia, lawsuit mania and testing frenzy, we are failing to inspire our children’s curiosity, creativity, and imagination. We are denying them opportunities to tinker, discover, and explore — in short, to play.

Jobs played not just as a child but throughout his adult life. He played to understand how things worked, then he played to invent new things, and then he kept playing to make those things singularly whimsical and “insanely great.”

Despite the fact that Jobs is largely credited for the evolution of today’s personal computer, he never advocated that kids spend the better part of their waking hours in front of one. In fact, he almost said the opposite:

“The elements of discovery are all around you. You don’t need a computer. Here — why does that fall? You know why? Nobody in the entire world knows why that falls. We can describe it pretty accurately but no one knows why. I don’t need a computer to get a kid interested in that, to spend a week playing with gravity and trying to understand that and come up with reasons why.”

And instead of merely watching his TV set as a child, Jobs was busy imagining how to build one of his own, drawing from the skills he acquired through his favorite toys:

“These Heathkits would come with these detailed manuals about how to put this thing together and all the parts would be laid out in a certain way and color coded. You’d actually build this thing yourself… These things were not mysteries anymore. I mean, you looked at a television set, you would think that ‘I haven’t built one of those but I could… ‘ It gave a tremendous level of self-confidence, that through exploration and learning one could understand seemingly very complex things in one’s environment. My childhood was very fortunate in that way.”

Despite his insatiable appetite for learning, Jobs often struggled within the confines of a classroom. He would likely perform very poorly on the multiple-choice tests that have become the golden standard for measuring our children’s aptitude:

“School was pretty hard for me at the beginning. My mother taught me how to read before I got to school and so when I got there I really just wanted to do two things. I wanted to read books because I loved reading books and I wanted to go outside and chase butterflies. You know, do the things that five year olds like to do. I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me.”

We are raising today’s children in sterile, risk-averse and highly structured environments. In so doing, we are failing to cultivate artists, pioneers and entrepreneurs, and instead cultivating a generation of children who can follow the rules in organized sports games, sit for hours in front of screens and mark bubbles on standardized tests.

We say we’re “protecting” our children. We say we’re setting them up to “succeed.” Really, we’re doing neither, and we’re letting an entire generation down. The most fitting way to honor Jobs’ legacy? Let our kids outside to play.