Editor's Note:

Editor’s Note

The rain was a tremendous relief and, I must say, I loved every drop of it. I even enjoyed looking at (and pulling) the hearty crop of weeds that suddenly began to choke my flowerbeds! Have you seen Highway 280? Lime green, forest green, jungle green… we could now call a paint chip “280 Green.” Yes, it’s wonderful to see spring arrive. I only hope that we will be blessed with rain a few more times before June so even if the drought is not called off, it will be lessened.

Spring brings thoughts of summer activities. Arrg! you say? Hard to think about when it’s months off? I know, but these last two months of school will fly by and you need to plan ahead to get a spot for your child this summer. Read the American Camp Association’s article “Ready, Set, Camp!,” then peruse our camp section and check out the array of summer camps. I think we have corralled the best line-up of summer camps you’ve ever seen. From day camps to sleep-away camps, from sports camps to science camps, horse camps and singing camps—there’s a place for your child to learn and grow this summer.

Preschool Parent Carol Cross-Phillips has written a lovely article about the joys of parenting. You know those times when you think that all the effort is for naught and now that your “child” is older, realize the importance of those small moments. She reminisces about her toddler who is graduating from college and the younger one who is graduating from high school. So much water under the bridge! Share her story; I think you’ll like it.

This is a SHINE! issue where we look at the challenges of childhood and acknowledge the many challenges involved in parenting. Dr. Carol Hong’s article on the specific vision problems autism spectrum children face is very revealing. It makes me remember the children I grew up with… the toe walker, the sideways glancer and the ones who covered one eye. Oh my goodness! If only we had known about the autism spectrum back then and helped these children. We’re lucky to have all of the information available to us in this day and age. I’m sure when you read Dr. Hong’s article you will recognize some child you know. Dr. Hong says, “Share the article, it may help someone.”

I hope your April is filled with fun and a few raindrops!


  • Tory Hartman, Editor

POP Picks:

POP Picks: Book Recommendations

April 22 is the 46th anniversary of the first Earth Day, which marked the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The idea of a national day to focus on the environment came to its founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, after he witnessed the devastation caused by the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. On April 22, 1970, twenty million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums all over the country to participate in demonstrations for a healthy, sustainable environment. By the end of that year, Republicans and Democrats joined together to pass the Clean Air Act. Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as we encounter the effects of overpopulation, global warming and an increasing number of devastating environmental disasters. It is never too early to start teaching our children the importance of keeping our planet clean, and there are a wealth of great books that can help you begin this discussion with yours.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Visual Connection

Whether your child has attention problems or is on the autism spectrum, a vision problem may be contributing to his or her difficulties. Since April is Autism Awareness month, let’s talk about the behaviors associated with spectrum disorders that have a visual connection. Often when the underlying vision problems are addressed, a dramatic change can occur in a child’s behavior and ability to learn, attend and interact with the world around them.

Child Abuse and Alcoholism; Is there a connection?

College students with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) drink more alcohol than their peers, according to a new study published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

In addition to the problems normally associated with alcohol abuse, the students’ heavier drinking also exacerbates their PTSD symptoms, the study found.

The study doesn’t identify what traumas led to the students’ stress disorder, but it’s safe to assume a good portion of them are survivors of child abuse and/or neglect. Parental alcoholism is often a factor in child abuse and neglect. It’s compounded by the risk that as adults, these children model their behavior on their parent—including drinking alcohol.

Ready, Set, Camp! Finding the Right Camp for Your Child

You are considering a summer camp, but how to choose? There’s a camp that is ideally suited for every child, providing a summer of growth and fun whether your child attends a day or overnight camp, a specialized or traditional camp. With a little help from the camp professionals at the American Camp Association, here’s some sound advice that helps parents sort through the choices and benefits that camp delivers.

Preschool Parent:

It’s Not Just for Today

They say that raising a child between the ages of zero and five is one of life’s five most stressful events. Anyone with a grumpy toddler would quickly agree. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day chaos of dealing with temper tantrums, spilled milk, sick babies or just the unavoidable schlepping that each day demands.

Many of us have heard the old adage that when you are raising a young child, the days are long but the years are short. When we hear that in the midst of parenting a few small children, it’s hard to believe. At that time, the years don’t seem short. It can often seem that you will never emerge from diaper changes, meal prep, laundry and battling car seat buckles. But you do emerge from that and before you know it, there is a first grader reading books to you, a fifth grader explaining the principles behind their science fair project, then a high schooler who just made the JV team.

Nursing Your Baby:

Breast Pumps—Rent or Buy?

Glenda asks, “My friend is offering me her used Medela Pump in Style that she used for her baby five years ago. It has been used for all three of her children; the oldest is nine. Is it safe to use? My insurance is offering me an Ameda Purely Yours personal use pump which I have already ordered. I am planning on having one at home and one at the office. What is the difference between these personal pumps and the ones people rent?”

It is estimated that 80% of new moms are pumping on used pumps. Is that a good or a bad thing? We know that it is tempting to use a pre-owned pump, but it can present some issues. The motors on used pumps can become weak or faulty with prolonged use. This can change the level of vacuum, which affects the amount of suction the pump has, potentially hurting a new mom’s milk supply if the suction is not strong enough.

Father Knows Best?:

Toys Story

When you’re a parent long enough, it becomes possible to start tracking time through the amount of cheap plastic debris embedded in the back corners of cabinets and closets and between carpet fibers. Much like tree rings tell you the age of a tree, so too does the amount of random pieces separated from whatever game, toy or art kit they came from and are now finding themselves embedded in your heel as you walk around the house.

Editor's Note:

Editor’s Note

Every time I drive down 280, I marvel at the green rolling hills. I feast on the verdant lawns in the neighborhoods that were brown only a few months ago. How long will this lush beauty last? Bottom line: We still need more rain! Quick! Wash your car. That always seems to bring storm clouds. But for now, enjoy the plush yards and the sound of the birds as they pass through the Bay Area on their way back north. Indeed, this is a special time of year.

Spring is also the time of year to explore summer camps for your kids—a wonderful tradition that fosters independence and leadership, as well as learning by doing.

There are so many camps to choose from—day camps, sleep-away camps, science camps, pony camp, even aeronautic camp. There’s a place for every child and every interest. To explore programs that fit your child, attend POP’s Summer Camp Activities Expo on Sunday, March 6 from 11am-3pm at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo. And take a look at the programs advertised beginning on page 8 and running clear through our issue this month. Of course, there are limits to how many campers can be accommodated at each camp, so make those reservations early!

Did you know that in the United States, 90 percent of businesses are family-owned? Chances are you work for a family business or are part of a family-owned business. Check out our article “7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Running a Family Business.” You just might see yourself.

How adoption has changed throughout the years. I remember when it was Top Secret and only whispered about by adults behind closed doors. Now it’s out in the open and in most adoptions, the birth mother is welcome to stay in contact with the adopting family. That’s a better way, don’t you think? Our article “Lifting Adoption’s Veil of Secrecy” explores this issue.

As always, touch base with our resident dad, Steve Shapiro in “Father Knows Best?” His take on family life always puts a smile on my face and a twinge in my heart.

Until next time.


—Tory Hartmann, Editor

The Doctor is in:

Zika Virus

I am sure the facts will have changed by the time this article is printed. Zika virus is spreading fear across the Americas. It was reported on the news this week that there are multiple cases of Zika in the U.S. Until recently, all of these were “imported” from people traveling abroad. Now there are a few cases that were contracted by people in the U.S. from infected travelers. These were from direct human contact, not via a mosquito. The most concerning problem is that it can possibly cause serious birth defects if pregnant women contract the disease.