Saturday, May 31, 2008

Boosting a Child's Brain Development

We live in an amazing world!

A recent study conducted by professor Barry Zuckerman discovered a system whereby parents can easily boost their child's development in language, memory, motor skills and a host of other cognative developmental markers.

Zuckerman, a long time advocate for impoving the lives of children, charges NOTHING for the use of the system. He insists that the system has been around in some circles for generations and he merely conducted the research that proves the effectiveness of the system.

Proper use of the system takes just a few minutes of time (usually less than 10 mintues, often as little as 5 or less). Furthermore, if done at bed time, use of the system will actually help children fall asleep without fuss.

You will need some equipment, but if you cannot afford the modest price of the tools, most communities make them available to borrow at no charge.

"You can imagine if someone technologically came up with a widget that would stimulate all aspects of a 2-year-old's development, everyone would want to buy it," says Zukerman in the London Guardian.

But that "widget" happens to be a book, and the "system" involves reading to your children.

Zuckerman's study shows that the earlier children begin reading books with their family, the higher their test scores on ALL tests as they grow up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

There is still hope for Dreams

We just got back from Disney World. On the first night there Madeleine dressed up in her Snow White costume and we went to the park for a half-day to catch the parade that night.

Madeleine is young enough to think nothing of dressing in a costume at Disney World, but once we left the hotel and got on the bus she noticed that no one else was in costume. She’s getting just old enough to start being a little bit self-conscious.

Youth slips away too quickly.

Once at the park she was reassured as she saw other children in costume as well.

The real highlight was during the parade when Disney’s Snow White came by and saw Madeleine in costume. Snow White actually saw my daughter in the crowd dressed like her. When she did, Snow White raised her gloved hand to her mouth is surprise and waved frantically at my daughter as if they were long lost sisters. This totally made my daughter’s day.

In fact, from then on she let me know that when she grew up she was going to be a Snow White at Disney World.

So, she’s been around enough performers to know that these are all actors. She recognizes that is is a real job done by regular people. She’s okay with that. It still really stoked her to have “Snow White” wave to her.

But the REAL kicker was two days later when we saw “Snow White” signing autographs next to Belle (from Beauty and the Beast). Madeleine approached and told her “I’m the one who was dressed like you were in the parade the other day”.

Snow White (almost ASSUREDLY NOT the one who was in the parade) said “Oh! I thought you looked familiar!” and my daughter’s chest swelled and her eyes grew and her smiled curled up. But before she could even bask in the glory Belle looked at Snow White and asked, “Is this the little girl you’ve been telling me about?” and Snow White nodded her head up and down.

My daughter could have died at that moment and been complete.

Actors or not; believing in Fairies or not; When Belle asked if this was the girl that Snow White had been talking about there was absolute belief that it was true. I don’t think my daughter has doubted for a minute that Snow White saw her in the parade and has spent the last few days talking to all the other princesses at Disney about this little girl she saw.

Thank you Disney. You have created three new very loyal fans and one very dedicated future employee.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Daughter Outs the Tooth Fairy

My daughter is going to turn six in a few days. She came to us at bed time about two weeks ago and said “Daddy, I know that fairies are not real. And I know that the fairies that are real can’t fly. I know that there’s no way anyone can get into our house because it is locked up and we have an alarm.”

Dramatic pause.

“So, I think that the only one who can get my teeth from under the pillow is either you or mom”.

My wife glared at me as this is our only child and Annie wants to have fun playing these roles for a while. Madeleine has only lost two teeth so far. But I just have a hard time directly lying to my child. So I try another route.

“Don’t you think it’s way more fun to pretend like fairies come and get the teeth?”

“No. I like the truth the best. Is it you and mom?”

“Yeah, it is. But you can’t tell anyone at your school.”

“Okay. Good-night” And it was just that easy.

Once she left my wife and I began discussing our ambivalence. On the one hand, we’re proud that she’s so smart and so logical, but on the other hand we really wanted her to enjoy some of the fun things of childhood.

“Mommy!” Madeleine yelped after sneaking back into the den.

“What is it?”

With a grin as big as a samurai sword my daughter announced “And I know who the Easter Bunny is, too!” then giggled as she ran back to her room.

No comments yet about “you-know-who” in red and white, but we’ll see what happens this coming December.