Thursday, April 27, 2017
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My roommate and I found the old-fashioned wooden rocking chair at a flea market. Typical Finnish wooden rocking chair. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I was about six months pregnant and my soft-focus mental image of rocking my new infant in that traditional, comfortable rocking chair was too much to resist. I was, after all, away from home, in Lawton, Oklahoma, with no family, except my husband, who lived in the barracks at nearby Fort Sill, or friends, except my new roommate. Strangely, I felt perfectly confident that I could get everything necessary ready for this new baby. I’d been baby-sitting... (Read More ...)

On June 11, 1982, days before my younger son turned three, the movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, was released. E.T.’s Communicator from the film E.T. Taken at Universal Studios Hollywood. (Photo credit: WikipedThe two brothers in the movie were six years apart. My own boys 11 years apart. Themes from this science fiction movie included: Friendship across different backgrounds Hiding stuff from your Mom Taking care of people both physically and emotionally Accepting the fact that you aren’t going to understand everything, like a bike that flies Government officials and scientists can do... (Read More ...)

Ole Kirk Christiansen, a Danish carpenter, bought a woodworking shop in 1916. LEGO bricks (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Because of the Great Depression, the call for furniture and large projects dwindled in the 1930s. He turned to making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, he named the company he had created Lego, a contraction of the Danish words for “play well.” They started making plastic toys in 1947, and in 1949, interlocking plastic bricks. When I was little, we had white American Plastic Bricks to build with. They fit together precisely, but only stayed together because of gravity. If your little... (Read More ...)

Enjoy the ride… (Photo credit: Biscarotte) Have Your Children? “You know, we don’t let our children play with them.” My neighbor was trying to warn me about her next-door-neighbor’s children. I stopped her with, “We let our children choose their own friends.” I liked the boy she was talking about, who was our son’s age. He was sweet. He seemed needy, as the child of a family who moves often does. I had no idea what family troubles drove them. But, whatever they were, my neighbor thought the boy a bad influence and wouldn’t let her children hang out with him. While I appreciated... (Read More ...)

President George W. Bush greets Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood in the Blue Room before an early childhood education event in the East Room April 3, 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Remembering Mr. Rogers Neighborhood Fred Rogers, educator and songwriter, Presbyterian minster and puppeteer. Wearer of zippered cardigan sweaters, knit by his mother. His calm, soothing voice reassured us that we were good people. It is not surprising to read that he neither smoke nor drank. On this day, 45 years ago, on February 19, 1968, he launched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It ran for 895 episodes,... (Read More ...)

“C” is for Cookie Monster Sesame Street first aired on November 10, 1969, when my son was a little over a year old. AYASE, Japan (Oct. 13, 2011) Naval Air Facility Atsugi residents watch as Sesame Street characters Grover, Katie, and Cookie Monster sing and dance during a performance at Ranger Gym at Naval Air Facility Atsugi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Vivian Blakely/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It started about a month after my husband had left for a year in Vietnam. At the time, I didn’t turn on the television until after my son went to... (Read More ...)

Have You Ever Bought a Toy That Didn’t Work as You Expected? I don’t know where I found it. I don’t know whether my younger son asked for it or I just thought he’d like it. Teddy Bear (Photo credit: Wikipedia) We gave him a Tonka voice-activated teddy bear for Christmas in 1986. You could talk to it and it would record and repeat back what you said. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My son was seven. The then-popular Teddy Ruxpin teddy bears had tape cassettes with stories recorded on them, or 10-second modules you could record your own message on. But, this bear was interactive. You... (Read More ...)

Go Outside and Play. Although video games didn’t come along until later, my sons grew up with computers in the house. One taught himself to type after he got annoyed that I introduced too many errors into a game program I was trying to enter into the computer for him. A Shell gas station near Lost Hills, California, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia) One taught himself to type when he realized that the faster he could type the bigger advantage he had in a computer game he liked to play. So, they could certainly entertain themselves in the house. One beautiful day, I decided my younger son, then in... (Read More ...)

Are You Your Children’s Storyteller? When my daughter-in-law lost both her parents within a year after her marriage, part of her sadness was expressed in her plea, “Who will tell my stories?” She was very far-sighted. White Family Grandmother White and grandchildren?. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When her daughter was born several years later, I found I could hardly note a look, a step, a mark of growth without telling a story about my son at that age. It was, of course, completely unbalanced, so I eventually asked friends and neighbors of her parents to share their stories about my awesome... (Read More ...)

Have You Ever Told a Cat What to Do? Today is August 27. In the Fall of 1970, my husband had just returned from 12 months in Vietnam. David, Jr. and Dave set off to go fishing from our campsite in 1970 after telling a cat to wait. We had two weeks to get back to Washington, DC, where he was returning to his job after three years. We packed up our Atlanta apartment, said goodby to my parents in Macon, Georgia, and his parents in Hogansville, Georgia. They had seen their grandson every other weekend for a year. We set out on a two-week camping trip to re-knit together our family. At one campsite,... (Read More ...)