It’s February—the month of love. On Valentine’s Day— as well as the week before and after—we acknowledge our families, our husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends and of course, our kids. We greet each other and hug. Happy Valentine’s Day! Remember how exciting this holiday was when you were a kid? All that cutting and pasting, buying little valentines, addressing them to classmates and the teacher… Then there was the candy! Some of the pressed powdered sugar had little messages on it. All that hoopla to say, “I love you.” “I appreciate you.” “Thanks for being my friend.” And we here at POP appreciate you, our readers as well as our advertisers. Stop me before I get mushy, but we really DO appreciate that you let us into your family and that we are a part of this wonderful life we have on the Peninsula.
We have a powerful issue this month jam-packed with great information. Victoria Dupuy’s message is a powerful one. Her athletically-active husband died from a heart attack at 46. What a shock. Victoria founded No More Broken Hearts to draw attention to a simple test that you can have to show how much plaque is in your veins. Dean Dupuy had just run a race! That night he played hockey and collapsed. A healthy man with no symptoms was not immune to this horrible fate—and he was the last person you would think had heart disease.
Is your college-bound student looking for ways to volunteer and get leadership experience? It’s an important part of high school these days and something colleges look at. Check out Apala Eagan’s article in “College Bound” for some good suggestions.
How’s your child’s prefrontal cortex? (I’m laughing here remembering the arguments I used to have with my two teenage boys.) Cynthia Klein, our resident Middle School Mom and Family Success Coach, shows us the Five Step Joint Problem-Solving Process and explains how to use it. It can teach and develop reasoning, judgment, planning, evaluation, cooperation and more!
It’s not too early to think about summer activities and camps, so take a look at the wealth of information POP has gathered in our Kids’ Activities and Camps pages. This Valentine’s Day say “I love you” to yourself and escape for an afternoon massage or spa visit. You’ll find information in our Health and Well-Being section..
Have a great February!
- Tony Hartman, Editor
The Doctor is in:
My daughter and I had our first day of skiing on December 31st. It was freezing and uncrowded. By the end of the day we were both exhausted. This is often the time of day that injuries occur. The last time my wife skied that hill, she tore her ACL. We were headed to the lodge on the last run of the day. She made a hard turn on a steep hill and felt a pop in her knee. She did not drop to the ground but knew something was terribly wrong. With knee injuries, a history of a “Pop and a drop” to the ground is always concerning.
Middle School Mom:
Finding solutions can be challenging. Maybe you don’t know how to start the process, or your children won’t respond, or even if you do develop a plan, their enthusiasm wanes quickly and you’re left feeling discouraged.
You can successfully solve problems together when you pick a challenge or request that both of you have an invested interest in solving and follow my Five Step Joint Problem-Solving Process. Challenge examples are getting out of the house on time, completing homework or planning a vacation.
Picture it: It’s time to fill out those college applications and there is a box or an area about Leadership Skills. Does your child have them? How do you get leadership skills?
One area where teenagers can try to develop leadership skills is through camp programs. Camps can encompass a wide range of interests such as nature, science, sports, art and music. Informal as well as school-based opportunities exist as well. There are multiple benefits of engaging in these types of activities: self-confidence, leadership skills and earning volunteer hours.
When my beloved husband died unexpectedly in September 2013 from plaque that ruptured in his heart while playing hockey, I decided to immerse myself in learning all that I could about heart disease, plaque, noninvasive tests’ availability and much more. I noticed that there were many heartbreaking stories just like mine. It is because of these stories that I created No More Broken Hearts. In the wake of the sadness at losing Dean, I realized that all those left behind—spouses, kids, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, friends, co-workers— had broken hearts too. I vowed to use Dean’s tragedy to spark a fire of heart health information so that someday these deaths would end and there would be No More Broken Hearts.
I want to encourage all book fans to attend Orion School’s 14th annual Author and Illustrator Fair, held at the school (815 Allerton Street, Redwood City) from 10:00am to 3:30pm on Saturday, February 6. In addition to the seven great children’s book authors and illustrators who will be at the Fair, there will be activities for children and a number of delicious lunch options as well. Rain or shine, this promises to be a great event. In this column I’d like to preview a few of the new children’s books that will be featured at the Fair.
Finding and hiring the right babysitter can be unnerving for parents. While we’d all like to leave our kids in the kind and capable hands of Mary Poppins, the reality is that you’re not going to find a sitter who “has it all.”
My advice to you is to take time to think about the skills, characteristics and “extras” that are most important to you, your spouse and your kids. Set up a formal interview with the sitter, or try a “working interview,” where you can get errands done at home while the sitter watches your kids for the first time.
There is a prejudice about learning that preschool teachers face, especially in our hard-driving, academic culture. This prejudice is the belief that an environment designed around play and exploration is not academically stimulating enough to prepare children for later school success. Couple this belief with the slippery slope of wanting to start “preparing” our children at earlier and earlier ages so they are always ahead of the game, and preschools come under a great deal of pressure to introduce more and more conventional academics.
Nursing Your Baby:
Lauren asks, “I am going back to work and plan to put my eight-week-old son, Dustin, in daycare. I am so terrified of him becoming ill. It seems that I am surrounded by sick people and that there are some really bad flus and colds going around right now. I really want to continue to breastfeed him exclusively and pump at work and I hope that helps. How can I guarantee that he will stay well and not get sick from the other children he will be with all day? I know I cannot keep him protected from illness his entire life but if there is anything I can do to lessen the chances of this I am totally willing to do what it takes. Is there anything you recommend?”
The term ‘hack’ is being used a lot lately. While it used to have a negative connotation, these days to ‘hack’ is to find a quicker, easier and more effective method for achieving a goal.
There are life hacks (like packing Christmas ornaments in empty egg cartons), food hacks (placing a handful of cherry tomatoes between two plates and using a knife to halve them all in one fell swoop), and as I’ll share with you today, fat loss hacks.
Fat loss hacks are ways of doing everyday things, like eating, in a way that promotes fat loss and blocks fat storage. Sounds pretty great, right?!