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Archive for the 'Playing' Category

Recommended: Pacem in Terris

June
22

Pretty unique and rewarding Father’s Day for me this year, and something I’d recommend.

We shelved the idea of a cookout or a ballgame this time out, and instead headed upstate to Warwick to visit Pacem in Terris — six acres of sculpture and meditation gardens along the Wawayanda River.

The gardens are the life work of Frederick Franck, a Dutch-born sculptor and author who spent nearly half a century adorning the land around his home with sculptures, artwork and meditation spaces. The NY Times did a nice piece on it three years ago.

Pacem in Terris essentially translates from Latin to mean Peace on Earth, and it’s in keeping with Franck’s spiritual outlook on life. Franck, who wrote more than 30 books on Buddhism and other subjects, died in 2006 at the age of 97, and the property is now maintained by his son, Lukas, as a nonprofit corporation.

Pacem is laced with Franck’s message, and immediately alerts visitors that it is “neither church, nor chapel, nor temple.” He cites his associations with Albert Schweitzer, Pope John XXIII and Buddhist scholar Daisetz Suzuki with helping shape his world view — and homages to them abound throughout.

Franck, a dental surgeon-turned artist, also has his work on display at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Tokyo National Museum and St. John the Divine Church.

My girlfriend turned us on to the place, which she frequented in past during times when she sought solace and tranquility. It was also a hit for my son, who is 11.

I would note that younger children may not be as enthralled — the place is not a playground. But for older kids, it’s a worthwhile experience. My son was very taken by it and was very vocal about appreciating that he and I shared it on Father’s Day.

Anyway, Pacem in Terris is at 96 Covered Bridge Road in Warwick, and, while it’s a tad out of the way, it’s worth a trip. Most of it is literally in Franck’s back yard, so visitors are asked to be respectful.

However, it is also free, and opens to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jfitzgibbon

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 10:30 am |
| | 5 Comments »

Playground parenting and other issues

June
11

I made an observation at the playground when my son was very young. Namely, parents seem to hover.

The problem with this is that it seems to me that kids aren’t allowed to learn a very basic life skill at the playground: Conflict resolution. If two kids have a beef at the monkey bars, there’s always a parent or two coming in to mediate or, more likely, to separate the kids and force them to play at opposite ends of the playground.

That’s kind of the type of thing that Lenore Skenazy has been talking about for a while now.

Skenazy is a Big Apple colunmist and blogger who made waves in 2007 by letting her then-9-year-old son take the subway and bus home on his own. She peddled the experience into a book, Free Range Kids, and a blog by the same title.

“Amid the cacophony of terrifying Amber Alerts and safety tips for every holiday,” Salon.com said in its review, “Skenazy is a chipper alternative, arguing that raising children in the United States now isn’t more dangerous than it was when today’s generation of parents were young. And back then, it was reasonably safe, too. So why does shooing the kids outside and telling them to have fun and be home by dark seem irresponsible to so many middle-class parents today?”

We’ve taken up similar issues here in the past. Admittedly, I’ve tended to err on the side of smothering my own son, relying more on that gene that says I should protect him. And, personally, I would not have let my 9-year-old ride the subway home alone.

But that’s just me, and I am likely very much guilty of the type of over-parenting Skenazy warns about.

Nonetheless, there is a lesson in it all, regardless of your personal feelings on it: Sometimes you do have to let the reins loose a bit.

Perhaps it is a matter of degrees. And I at least give myself credit for letting him work out his playground scuffles.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jfitzgibbon

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
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My metal-head kid

February
9

Last year I took my son to his first “concert:” a performance by Ringo Starr and his all star band at Radio City Music Hall. This time we turned it up a notch.

The truth is my 11-year-old is a metal-head with a guitar teacher who is a Metallica nut. So I bit: Two weeks ago I took him to see Metallica at the Prudential Center in Newark, with ear-plugs in tow. Now, I think we’re fortunate to be in a situation where it’s common for my generation to have similar musical tastes with our children, simply because we grew up on rock. And, let’s face it, Metallica has been around long enough that it they were a big deal in my college and post-college days.

So we were able to share the experience. To me, it was a great bonding experience, similar to my view on video games. He and I play X-Box together all the time, which I enjoy as long as his schoolwork is done and we still put aside time to do more traditional recreational activities.

Still, I’ve had other parents express surprise that I would take my son to a heavy metal show and that I would devote so much time to playing video games with him. Is there a viewpoint out there that those things either cut into traditional parent-child relationships or are prematurely exposing kids to “older kid” activities?

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Monday, February 9th, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

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The working-parent dilemma….and a single-mom victim of it

October
15

Don’t people work? You would assume with all the working parents out there and the growing number of single parents around that you’d find more after-school activities for your kids that accommodate a busy work schedule. But try to find a broad range of after-school activities that fit that criteria and see what happens.

My girlfriend recently got an education in this. She sought new weeknight activities for her energetic 4-year-old, only to find that many after school programs run roughly from 2 to 5 in the afternoon — hardly designed for working parents. He already plays soccer on weekends, but extensive weekend activities are difficult because she splits those days with her ex as part of the custody agreement. So, a weeknight activity was the goal. She ultimately settled on a gymnastics program that runs from 6:30 to 7:30 once a week. She would have preferred something a tad earlier in the evening that fit both her schedule and met her desired goals for a program. And this place is hardly around the corner from our home. But she was lucky: It’s a good program despite the long day it results in.

I had a minor taste of this myself with my son. He’s in sixth grade now and, as he did last year, he plays the saxophone in the school band. Also like last year, he was invited to join the jazz band, which practices after school. Normally, there’s a late bus to take him right to his after-school program. Only that doesn’t start until the end of this month, which means that either his mom or I would have to pick him up by 4:15 p.m. or he takes the early bus and  misses band practice. Well, we have jobs.

The end of the world? Not by a stretch, especially with what’s going on in the world these days. But if you’re a working parent who wants an active, involved kid, it’s certainly frustrating — and occasionally unfair. It’s also proving costly for at least one single mom.

Here’s her story: Seeking a martial arts program for her young child, this working single mom signed up for a late class in Pleasantville, N.Y. The child has auditory processing delays, so he is occasionally unable to follow some verbal commands. She met with the martial arts instructor, explained this and was assured that the classes would be small in size — no more than five kids — and that his teaching method was designed to accommodate children with mild to moderate development issues. He required a contract and would not accept cash or checks: Only a credit card number. So, they were off.

Well, the class quickly rose from three kids to 12, and the teaching method changed by the second class, with the instructor suddenly facing away from the children and using increasingly complicated commands, moves and sequences that the kids were require to quickly learn and replicate. Needless to say, the single mom’s child was unable to keep up. It became a very frustrating and difficult process, and was certainly not going to build up the self-esteem she felt her child needed and would gain from the classes. So, she phoned and told the instructor she would no longer be able to attend because her child would have difficulty continuing, coupled with a change in her work schedule that made attending the classes on time very difficult. She said she received a follow-up online newsletter from the instructor, and thanked him for it but reiterated that the child could not continue.

This particular martial arts program stipulates that you must give notice if the contract is to be terminated. Nonetheless, the instructor billed the mom for an entire first month of lessons two weeks later, although her child only attended three classes. To make matters worse, when she politely asked if he could halt the billing, he mailed her a statement announcing his intent to bill her more than $700 for a three-month set of classes which she initially signed up for but, as he was now aware, the child would not be attending — not to mention that he had already billed her for an entire month’s worth of classes for just three actual sessions.

This borders on criminal. Obviously, the mom needs to take action to halt payment and report the school for misrepresentation or even fraud. But I think what irked her most — and what most bothers me about it — is the idea that she is being taken advantage of, if not outright being robbed. She had limited options for martial arts programs because of her work schedule and her child’s developmental needs. And, as a single mom, she is limited financially as well, and plopping down that much money is an indication of the sacrifice she was willing to make for her child’s wellbeing and happiness. And then this.

It doesn’t help when your schedule as a working single parent limits the extra-curricular activities you can treat your kid to in the first place. It helps even less when someone finds a way to make an extra buck from it.

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
| | 13 Comments »

The little bully

September
8

I wanted to beat up a 3-year-old this weekend. And boy, would he have had it coming.

Frankly, I would’ve been okay with my girlfriend’s 4-year-old taking the kid out. But that’s where she and I differed, and where it makes for an interesting discussion on bullying. It’s been on my mind lately anyway, since my 10-year-old son is now in middle school. In our district, the middle school is grades 6-8, and since he’s the youngest in his grade because of his late-November birthday, he’s also one of the smallest kids in the new school. So, it’s been on my mind.

Back to the weekend: Our blended family was out and about in the sunshine yesterday, and took time out to hit the playground at Croton Point Park. All is going well, until a 3-year-old boy (I’m guessing on the age) punches my son in the stomach. Now, he’s bigger, so he just laughed it off and let it go. But then the kid punches my girlfriend’s 4-year-old in the gut — three times over the span of maybe 5 minutes or so. Hmm.

So, our boy runs back and complains that the kid kept hitting him. One point: Our little guy is amazingly strong for his age. He has remarkable arm strength for a kid his age, and is big for his age. However, he’s also very, very mild mannered. In other words, he has the strength to be a bully, but nowhere near the demeanor. Therefore, he keeps trying to go back to the play ground but runs back in fear each time the little bully kid starts running towards him.

At one point the bully kid actually pulls down his pants and urinates on the playground equipment as if it was second nature. No, there was no sign of a parent. Anyway, my girlfriend takes matters into her own hands. She walks over, does official introductions for her son and the bully kid. They shake hands, and off they go to play like old buddies — until the smaller boy kicks our boy in the face.

My 10-year-old offered to take the little bully out, but, of course, we’re not going there. Now here’s where my girlfriend and I differed: Her solution was to just leave and to congratulate her son for not hitting back. I also commended him, but felt that, at that stage, we should have instructed our 4-year-old to, A) Tell the bully kid to stop and, B) If he didn’t stop, to clock him in the head. That’s me.

Years ago, when my son was in pre-K, he had a bigger kid push him around regularly. The kid was bigger and the staff at the place did little about it. I complained several times, and finally told them after a few weeks that if it happened again I would instruct my son to defend himself. They said they would do something. Needless to say, it happened again. My son got pushed down, got up and clocked the kid in the nose. The bigger kid went down, started crying and ran away. They ended up being friends after that.

Is that the best option? Maybe not. I saw it as a last resort. And I’m not sure how I’d handle it if he has a similar problem in middle school this year. My fingers are crossed that it doesn’t happen.

With my girlfriend’s 4-year-old, there’s another component: He is, as I said, a very strong kid, and we don’t want him to hurt anyone and we don’t want him to learn to solve his conflicts with his fists. But isn’t there a breaking point, where he should learn to stand his ground? When is that point?

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
| | 6 Comments »

Vote in our poll on vacations!

August
1

What are you Parents’ Place readers doing this summer? Vote in our poll in the right column of the page to share your plans.

balloon.jpgWe’re heading to Sesame Place next week in what Pumpkin is already expecting will be the time of her life. We’ve been looking at the brochure and she keeps touching the picture of the Big Bird’s Balloon Race and saying, “I’ll be BIG happy when I’m on there.” Let’s just hope <a href=”http://www.sesameplace.com” target=”_blank”>Sesame Place</a> lives up to expectations.

Posted by Julie Moran Alterio on Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
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Growing apart?

March
27

I knew it would start sooner or later. It still stinks.

On Wednesday, I drove my son to school and, as is our norm, I parked in the lot and we walked into the building together. This has been something of a routine when he’s with me that we’ve done since pre-K, through various school buildings. In past, we’ve chatted a bit, joked with each other and I’ve waited with him until the bell rang and he had to get to class.

This time, he walked in ahead of me, and started talking to some friends, seemingly oblivious to my presence. I called out to him, he looked, I said, “bye?” He replied by sheepishly giving an unenthusiastic wave, clearly embarrassed. So I left, heart wounded.

I’ve always known there would come a time when he’d not want to have his dad there when he was with friends. I figured it out early on, in kindergarten, when he first asked me not to hug him goodbye in front of his classmates. I understood.

But somehow this got to me a bit. Probably that’s because it’s an indication of things to come, the years ahead when he will spend more and more time out with friends than at home playing X-Box or watching a movie with is dad, or out at the park playing ball or sled riding in the winter with his old man.

Obviously, it has to be that way, and it should be that way.

But for now, it just stinks.

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Thursday, March 27th, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
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So, today my child ate Play-Doh

March
10

I’m working on the computer, and Pumpkin comes over to me for a little visit. When she opens her mouth to talk, I see her tongue is kind of a blue-green. I ask her to stick out her tongue to get a better look, and wow, it’s really pretty colorful. I then say: “What did you eat?” Pumpkin: “Play-Doh.” I say: “Show me.” She takes me by the hand and into the kitchen, where my mom is chopping vegetables for dinner and had set up Pumpkin at the table to amuse herself with Play-Doh in the meantime. Sure enough, there’s a big chunk of blue-green Play-Doh on the table. I ask: “How much did you eat?” Pumpkin: “Big! Big!” I look at the box and read labels warning that Play-Doh is not a food, but conversely, is also nontoxic. Feeling somewhat reassured, I give a little lecture on Play-Doh’s lack of desirability as a culinary experiment.

Later tonight, Pumpkin’s cheeks are looking really, really rosy and her upper lip looks a little swollen. Maybe it’s just the effect of the half-hour walk we took in the chilly late-afternoon air? Or, maybe, it’s the Play-Doh and some kind of allergic reaction? I Google “Poison Control Hotline” and get the number: 1-800-222-1222. (I think I’ll memorize it, now.) My husband talks to the nice lady and she assures us that Play-Doh is not a hazard, especially if our daughter has been eating and drinking, which she has. She’s asleep upstairs now, and her Play-Doh adventure is hopefully over. (Interestingly enough, the frequently asked questions, or FAQ, section on the Play-Doh Web site does NOT include the question: “What do I do if my child eats Play-Doh?” Although, it does include the information that Play-Doh is “primarily a mixture of water, salt and flour.”)

Even though eating Play-Doh isn’t harmful, this experience was a surprise for me because I thought Pumpkin knew better. She’s 2 and a half, and well past the oral stage. I thought she could distinguish between food and, well, everything else. It makes me aware that I have to be even more vigilant. And, of course, no more Play-Doh with lax supervision.

What have your kids eaten that gave you the shudders?

Posted by Julie Moran Alterio on Monday, March 10th, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
| | 4 Comments »

Who is having the play date?

February
12

So, I did it. I made a play date for today with a neighbor down the block who has a really cute 18-month-old son named Ethan. This might not seem remarkable to people who know me well and think of me as pretty outgoing, but the fact is: I have been very shy when it comes to making playmates. Pumpkin and I can count on one hand the number of play dates we’d had so far — OK, to be perfectly honest — two fingers. (And yes, I feel very guilty about this.) But there’s something about asking another mom if she wants to get together that brings out the insecure junior high school kid in me. After all, at this age, it’s not like I’m dropping Pumpkin off at the curb. A play date means the mom has to spend the time with me. “But, you’re a reporter! You should be good at talking to people!” I can hear you saying this. And, it’s true, I can pretty much walk up to anyone and interview them. But, the thing is, I don’t know if these skills carry over into the world of women’s friendships. (It doesn’t help when your play date skills get rejected. After one play date that I thought was successful, I didn’t get a second invite.)

Despite this, I got bold about today because we’re going to do something very active together — taking the kids to <a href=”http://www.leaplizards.com/” target=”_blank”>Leapin’ Lizards</a> in Port Chester. Also, we won’t be tête-à-tête because it turns out Ethan already had a play date today and his buddy (and mom) will be coming along, too. Between the chaos of keeping track of three toddlers at the giant indoor play center, I think we’ll all have a good time.

I bring this topic up because I think about how much a parent’s social skills affect their children’s lives. Growing up, my mom worked, so she was never the classroom mom. She wasn’t a big joiner, either, so we didn’t have a network of community contacts. Looking back, it would have been kind of nice to have a mom involved in the school, sitting in the back of the table at bake sales, hanging around the auditorium during school plays, etc. I aspire to be that kind of mom for my daughter, but then I think to myself, “You can’t even arrange a play date without getting the willies!”

What about the rest of you parents? Are you rolling your eyes and saying, “Get over it!” Or, have you had similar qualms? Those of you with active play date schedules: How do you do it? Do you just say to a friendly face at library story hour: “Say, do you want to get these two hooligans together sometime?” Or what?

Posted by Julie Moran Alterio on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 at 12:58 am |
| | 5 Comments »

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Snow days

January
14

I think it’s time to blog on this: Too many snow days.

As I hear it, everyone seems to agree that school districts order snow days — or delayed openings, as was the case today in my son’s district — much more frequently than when we were kids. It’s certainly my experience. Or is it simply my perception?

My neighbor, who is from the Czech Republic, laughed off today’s delay, noting that when he was a kid back home there would be a foot of snow on the ground and all the kids would pray that school would close. He says it happened once that he can remember.

In my own youth, I certainly remember walking to school amid snow banks with snow falling. In recent years, including the harsh winter of 2004, it became an issue, with district worrying about making up school time because of all the snow days. I stumbled upon “this story from cnn.com”:http://www.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/02/09/snow.days.ap/index.html about one superintendent’s dilemma with it, and the fallout he endured.

But I couldn’t find a viable database that tracks the number of snow days per year. I thought this would end the debate once and for all, and determine whether schools are wimpier these days or whether it’s just our perception. One newspaper in Michigan took to the web last month and conducted “a reader poll”:http://blog.mlive.com/taking_notes/2007/12/school_snow_day_poll_too_many.html on the subject. Not exactly scientific, but it does make for some interesting results.

Of course, I’m not bringing this up with my son. Nothing a kid loves more than a snow day. It’s a hassle for us grown-ups, dealing with work and what to do with the kids and, particularly as a single parent, negotiating with the ex to reach a compromise on who takes time off, who doesn’t, whose turn it is to do so, etc. The big winner is always my son, who gets a day off. I just hope he remembers how good he had it as a kid.

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Monday, January 14th, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
| | 6 Comments »

Patience

January
11

No, not the kind we need as parents. We’ve all had a crash course in that if we have kids. I mean getting your children to be patient in impatient situations. Like, the long lines at Disneyworld.

In this case it was the long lines at the “Holiday Train Show”:http://www.nybg.org/hts at the New York Botanical Garden. We took the boys there last weekend for the show, which ends this weekend if you want to check it out. It was an awesome display which the kids loved — after a 90-minute wait on line because of obviously poor planning and management by the folks in charge.

Needless to say, we had a 3-year-old and a 10-year-old in tow, so it required some creative time management. Since there were two adults, we were able to split time between standing on line and taking the kids to run around somewhere or other. But this would’ve been a remarkably more trying situation for a single parent with no partner. I went through this a few years ago when I took by son to Disneyworld and the waits became difficult for him, and understandably so.

These days, I’m fortunate to have my girlfriend in the picture (add “line marker” to her lists of attributes). But it still leaves the question of managing patience in children in an impatient situation. The “University of Pittsburgh Medical Center”:http://www.upmc.com/AboutUPMC has one of many sites out there that discusses “how to teach children patience.”:http://www.upmc.com/HealthManagement/ManagingYourHealth/PersonalHealth/Children/?chunkiid=14355

Obviously, the article focuses on more significant benefits to teaching patience than just managing a child while you’re on a dreadfully long line. Those are, of course, valuable to successful parenting, and having patience during a long wait is much more mundane. But I was most struck by the suggestion that kept coming up as I was doing some research for this posting: Start by being patient yourself. To be honest, patience isn’t exactly my strength. And maybe I should teach myself first.

Besides, watching the kids roll down the hill during my time as “line marker” looked kinda fun.

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Friday, January 11th, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
| | 3 Comments »

A small win for dad after a son’s tough defeat

January
11

I don’t remember the last time I saw my oldest son cry. I didn’t actually see him cry yesterday when his high school basketball team lost by two points.

After the small crowd had gone home and only the two teams and the score keepers remained, I looked across the court to see my son’s face buried in his hands. Then he pulled his jersey over his face as several of his team mates attempted to console him.

It had been a tough loss. His team had fought back after trailing by at least 13 points only to lose by by two. It hadn’t been his best game. He still hadn’t recovered from a torn rotator cuff suffered at the start of the season. He had scored and rebounded some, but it was his hustle yesterday that I really admired  - playing defense, wrestling for the ball while sprawled on the court, and  late in the game getting an opponents’ foul shot nullified when a player on the other team had stepped over the line too soon during a foul shot.

But with one second on the clock and his team down by two points, my son, who is 17,  was on the foul line to shoot two. If he hit both,  his team just might win its first game of the season.

The first shot bounced off the rim. So did the second.

I could guess how he felt. His teamates had named him team captain after he had led them last year in scoring, rebounding and foul shooting. But this day the shots did not go. He had let his team down and he had let himself down.

I walked across the court to him and rubbed his back and head. I told him it was OK, and that he had played a good tough game, but I don’t think he was buying it. Only after the coach had called him a second time for the post-game meeting did the jersey come down from his face.

Later I tried to figure out what I would say to him. I felt badly for him. The loss and his missed shots hurt. What could I say? But I had another feeling that I couldn’t quite place. Finally I knew what it was and what I would say – I was proud of him.

We talked after dinner last night, just the two of us, and it was the closest I had been to this stubbornly independent boy in a while. Maybe we did manage a win of sorts yesterday.

Posted by Len Maniace on Friday, January 11th, 2008 at 9:42 am |
| | 2 Comments »

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The dreaded teen years

January
8

Okay, this is way premature: My son is just 10.

But I’ve always accepted that my time with him is limited. We buddy around now and go on treks together, share movies and even joust in X-Box contests now and again. But what happens when he hits the teen years? That’s when dad has to drop him off around the corner so his friends won’t see him with me. It’s inevitable, isn’t it?

This came to mind this week when a colleague of mine told me the latest news about his 15-year-old. Both our sons take guitar lessons and fool around with the six-strings, so we’re always checking in on their progress. This week he tells me his boy has turned in his guitar for text-messaging. In other words, he has a girlfriend.

Now, my girlfriend’s 3-year-old has a girlfriend too. Of course, in pre-K it’s a slightly different dynamic. My son is in fifth grade, and had his first kiss in kindergarten. He has had a girl or two chasing him over the years. He’s still at that age where he blushes at the mere mention of that first kiss, but two girls in particular always come up year after year.

Anyway, the girlfriend isn’t even the ultimate point. It’s more a matter of losing some part of that father-son bond when my boy hits the teens. I know of cases where it hasn’t worked that way, but a lot more where it has. For instance, I have one cousin who remained close with her boys during those years, largely by staying current on the latest video games and playing with them frequently. Another cousin left home early in his teen years due to his inability to relate in any way to his parents.

Will my son be one or the other extreme? Or somewhere in the middle? I bring this up to him now and again, and he tells me that’ll never happen. He’ll always be my buddy. God bless his little heart for saying so.

But, as much as it as a rite of passage of sorts, I do dread it. I mean, isn’t it just a matter of time?

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
| | 5 Comments »

Christmas debriefing

December
27

The holidays were a success at my place, with tons of food, lots of smiles and two spoiled kids. In fact, the boys each got more presents than I probably got my entire childhood. As I’m sure is the case with most single parent homes, my son had a stack of presents at our place, and another stack waiting at his mom’s house, where he went at the end of the day on Christmas Day so he could open some presents with is stepbrother.

The value to all this, of course, is that both our boys were able to have a happy and fulfilling Christmas despite having non-traditional homes. Our Christmas morning brunch included both my ex and my girlfriend’s ex, with the added treat for her boy that his grandparents were in from out of town and shared the day with us.

And despite all our efforts and all the feelers we put out there, my son continues to tease us and keep us guessing about his understanding — or lack of — the Santa myth. He proclaimed, tongue in cheek, that Christmas is “60 percent excellent presents from Santa, 39 percent lousy gifts from your parents, and 1 percent egg nog.”

So I think he might be playing us, the little wise guy. Who cares in the end.

Anyway, I hope all had a great time over the holidays, regardless of what it is you celebrate. And I hope most of all that the children enjoyed their inclusion in it. I would love to hear some recaps.

Posted by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon on Thursday, December 27th, 2007 at 10:55 am |
| | 2 Comments »

A day for mom and daughter

December
21

Today I have a full day off with my Pumpkin. Just mama and baby. I cannot remember the last time it was just the two of us for a full day. Despite all the holiday chores I have to do, from wrapping gifts to cooking to cleaning the house to some last-minute shopping, I’m going to try and spend most of the day just playing with my little girl. It’s something I don’t do often enough. The week seems to fly by with work and chores, and often on the weekend we have a family activity planned. Sometimes, a week or more will go by and I’ll realize I haven’t just sat on the floor and played without trying to do something else at the same time. I think we’ll start the day with chocolate-chip pancakes, then do some drawing with crayons and maybe take a walk outside if it’s nice. I won’t even turn on this computer until she’s napping — and maybe not even then!

When was the last time you had a day to spend with your child that didn’t also involve chores or errands or busy activities with other family members? And what did you do?

Posted by Julie Moran Alterio on Friday, December 21st, 2007 at 2:55 am |
| | 1 Comment »

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About this blog
Parents’ Place is a hangout for openly discussing the A’s to Z’s of raising a child in the Lower Hudson Valley. From deciding when to stop using a binky to when to let your teenager take driving lessons, Parents’ Place is here to let us all vent, share, and most of all, learn from each other.
Leading the conversation are Julie Moran Alterio, a business reporter and mom of a toddler, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, a reporter and single father with joint custody of a 9-year-old son, and Len Maniace, a reporter and father of two sons.


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About the authors
Julie Moran AlterioJulie Moran AlterioJulie Moran Alterio, her husband and baby girl — “Pumpkin” — share their Northern Westchester home with three iPods and more colorful plastic toys than seems necessary to entertain one tiny human. READ MORE
Jorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-Gibbon has been a journalist for more than 20 years and a father for nine. READ MORE
Jane LernerJane LernerJane Lerner covers health and hospitals for The Journal News in Rockland, where she lives with her husband and two children. READ MORE
Len Maniace.jpgLen ManiaceLen Maniace is a reporter and father of two sons. READ MORE



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