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Archive for August, 2007

Serendipity – noun – good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries

Last night, I was a recipient of a delightful link in an email from my good friend and fellow Kindermusik educator, Lori Burkhardt.  Lori is a treasure-trove of resources, all kinds of useful information for just about anyone and everyone on our Kindermusik educators loop.  She also is an expert on eBay and finds all kinds of interesting and neat items for auction there.  This particular auction was one she shared with me.

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Item #130144061675  Lot of Pokemon Cards That My Kids Tried to Sneak By Me

Pokemon Cards

Description:

I’m selling a bunch of Pokemon cards.  Why?  Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn’t notice they were there until we got home.  How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask?  Let me explain.

You haven’t lived until you’ve gone grocery shopping with six kids in tow. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they’re having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the grocery store. Because I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when you’re peering into your fridge and thinking, “Hmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,” that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them “The Lecture”.

The “Lecture” goes like this:

MOM: “We have to go to the grocery store.”

KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.”

MOM: “Hey, I don’t want to go either, but it’s either that or we’re eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight.”

KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.”

MOM: “Now here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store. Again.”

OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.

Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip. This is not a good thing. You try running after a toddler with no feet sometime.

At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, “Are they all yours??”  I answer good naturedly, “Yep!”

 “Oh my, you have your hands full.”

“Yes, I do, but it’s fun!” I say smiling.  I’ve heard all this before. In fact, I hear it every time I go anywhere with my brood.

We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, “Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!”

I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, “Didn’t I tell you, before we left, that I didn’t want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???”

“No. You said that you didn’t want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didn’t say anything about apples.”

With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon and instead focus on the positive – my child actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.

A little old man looks at all of us and says, “Are all of those your kids?”

Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, “Nope. They just started following me. I’ve never seen them before in my life.”

OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, I’m tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the chorus of “Can we gets” begins.

“Can we get donuts?”

“No.”

“Can we get cupcakes?”

“No.”

“Can we get muffins?”

“No.”

“Can we get pie?”

“No.”

You’d think they’d catch on by this point, but no, they’re just getting started.

In the bakery, they’re giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesn’t like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (That’s what moms do. We put our hands in front of our children’s mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We’d rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I’m not sure why this is, but ask any mom and she’ll tell you the same.) Of course, there’s no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand.

In the meat department, a mother with one small baby asks me, “Wow! Are all six yours?”

I answer her, “Yes, but I’m thinking of selling a couple of them.”

(Still searching for a garbage can at this point.)

Ok, after the meat department, my kids’ attention spans are spent. They’re done shopping at this point, but we aren’t even halfway through the store. This is about the time they like to start having shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun pastime? My seventh “child”, also known as my husband. While I’m picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of a Keebler elf stacked with packages of cookies.

Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in my house.

As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the cart. I’m amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping cart. Mmmm, can you say “influenza”?

The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that the toddler has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.

Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, “Can we have candy”? What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a child’s eye level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.

As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts unbeknownst to me. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don’t even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me.  As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, “Are they all yours?”

Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from writing out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, “No. They’re not mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to the grocery store because it’s so much more fun that way.”

So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards.  There are 44 cards total.  They’re in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store.  Many of them say “Energy”.  I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn’t work.  I definitely didn’t have any more energy than usual.  One of them is shiny.  There are a few creature-like things on many of them.  One is called Pupitar.  Hee hee hee Pupitar!  (Oh no!  My kids’ sense of humor is rubbing off on me!)  Anyway, I don’t there’s anything special about any of these cards, but I’m very much not an authority on Pokemon cards.  I just know that I’m not letting my kids keep these as a reward for their sneakiness.  

Shipping is FREE on this item.  Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility.  For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, that’s my responsibility and I will fully refund your money.  If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, it’s out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance.  I will leave feedback for you as soon as I’ve received your payment.  I will be happy to combine shipping on multiple items won within three days.  This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home.  Please ask me any questions before placing your bid.  Happy bidding! 🙂

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And, yes, this was a real, legitimate eBay auction (final bid: $142.51), and she  is a real mom of six children, ages 12 – 1.  Her name is Dawn Meehan of Illinois, and this eBay listing garnered her over 10,000 emails and 100,000 hits on her blog in one day alone.  Why?  The universal motherhood experience!  We’ve all been there at one time or another, whether with six children or just one!  😀

You can see the eBay listing itself here and be sure to surf on over to her blog:

Dawn Meehan blogphoto

Because I Said So  (changing lives one diaper at a time, since 1994)

I guarantee that you will split your sides laughing!  My husband, David, and I were both howling with laughter last night, enjoying how she turned the tables on her 12yo at Target.  Enjoy!

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Thank you, parents, for sharing your beautiful children with me.   I had a lovely, lovely time singing, dancing, and playing with all of you.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/FHyeuexZBFE]

Fall Classes begin September 8th. 

Check out our Schedule for the class that’s right for you!

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Years ago, I had the privilege of learning the alto part and performing in a mass choir’s production of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.”  It’s one of those things that you have to really work at to learn, and somehow you never forget, even years later.  I can still sing that part today.

I have played the flute in an orchestra accompanying a full choral rendition of the “Messiah.”  I have also had the privilege of being the piano accompanist for a church choir singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.”  But I’ve never had an opportunity to perform it like this!  Enjoy!  😀

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhlm232KRlQ]

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With all of the warnings and recalls of toys made in China recently, I, for one, appreciated receiving this from Michael G. Dougherty, chairman and chief executive officer of Kindermusik International.  For your information and peace of mind, at least there’s one company you won’t have to worry about their products and toy safety.

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Kindermusik International: A Message About Toy Safety

Recent news reports have highlighted the recall of some toys found to be unsafe.  These reports have understandably raised concerns from parents.  I want to be sure you know that Kindermusik shares this concern.

For years Kindermusik has gone to great lengths to assure the safety of our products. That is why parents have come to trust the Kindermusik brand.  Kindermusik products are engineered to be educational, entertaining and safe before they enter into production.  Production samples of each product are then rigorously tested by an independent testing lab to ensure that our toys meet the highest safety standards.

All Kindermusik products have comfortably passed international safety standards in mechanical and fire hazard tests.  Our products have also been tested for potentially hazardous materials and have easily met safety standards for those materials.

Two of our core values at Kindermusik International are to Always Do What is Best for the Child, and to Be Open, Honest, and Direct.  At all times, and especially at times like these, our core values guide our actions.  That is why we bring this information directly to Kindermusik educators so you are well equipped to answer questions from your parents.

As you have come to expect from Kindermusik, we have taken great care to test that our products are safe, and we will continue safety testing with vigilance.  Please refer any further questions regarding the safety of our toys to Kindermusik International 800-628-5687 or info@kindermusik. com.

Sincerely,

Michael G. Dougherty
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Kindermusik International

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Last night, while waiting for some families to arrive for my Demo Days class, I had an opportunity to share with a mom about a new program (new to me, at least) that I’ve recently fallen madly in love with.  You have to understand that I watch very little television to begin with, especially on channels such as Disney.  But this program is definitely worth setting your timer.  It reminds me of “The Muppet Show” of the late ’70’s – early ’80’s with animation and music for the kids but also an enormous helping of adult humor that will go completely over the children’s heads.  😀

If you haven’t already met him, let me introduce you to “Shaun the SheepEnjoy!

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZNHT_bQhT8]

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Satchmo (Louis Armstrong) was and still is one of my favorites of all time.  This artist brings him to life in a very unique way that I think will amaze you.  Turn up your sound, grab a child onto your lap, and enjoy!

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCb7R3v5nYg]

 Thanks goes to Molly McGinn

(and Sean, too!) 😀

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With the recall by Mattel of over 10 million toys made in China, many parents and  grandparents are worried about the toys they give their children and grandchildren as well as the toys their children play with in various venues such as daycares and preschools.  How can you know they are safe?  How can you know if a toy is appropriate for your child?

An article, “Criteria for Selecting Toys,” written by Francis Wardle, PhD,  in 1993 gives some specific guidelines to follow when choosing toys and deciding which old toys to keep.  For example, can your child use the toy without adult supervision?  Toys should not have adult rules or require adult supervision for your child to play with it.  Does the toy strengthen your child’s respect for others?  Does it provide exposure to diversity in a non-stereotypical way?

Will the toy last over time, or is it one of those Christmas “specials” that last usually only about 2 weeks before biting the dust?  Can it be used in many various ways?  Can it stimulate your child’s imagination into pretend uses of his own?  Is it possible for children of different developmental levels to use it, or is it specifically for one developmental age?

For further reading, please visit the Child Care Information Exchange at this link to print out the checklist for yourself.  It is a .pdf file which will require an Adobe Reader.  Most computers come with that already loaded, but if you don’t have it, it is a free download here. 

For additional information on toy safety:

Guidelines on Toy Safety by The American Academy of Pediatrics

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Complete List of Recalled Toys

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