May
27

Does your child-care provider love your kids?

Posted by Lorain County Moms

I’m a stay-at-home mom, but my kids go to a nursery school/day care two days a week. I staggered their schedule so each kid gets some one-on-one time with me once a week, but so I also have a day to myself. Not that I ever get to do anything fun on my kid-free day, unless you think getting the oil changed and the cat vaccinated is fun. Either way, the kids seem to really enjoy their school and I enjoy being able to go grocery shopping alone occasionally. Everybody wins!

The teachers and aides at the school have been nothing but warm and pleasant. In fact, one of them even moonlights as our weekend babysitter. Besides her, though, the only people who have ever watched my kids are relatives. When my mom or my sister-in-law kisses my daughter and tells her that they love her, it’s not unusual. But it is a little strange, for me at least, when the babysitter or teacher does so.

Don’t get me wrong. It makes me happy to know my kids are well nurtured when they’re not in my care. When a teacher comes up to me and says something like, “I really love your son!” it doesn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I consider myself lucky to have kids that inspire such proclamations! It only becomes an issue when I hear someone say “I love you” to them. Especially in front of me. I know it’s all semantics, but something about it makes me uncomfortable.

Maybe it’s because I’m uncertain of the sincerity. For example, our if our teacher/babysitter friend said “I love you” to my kids, I wouldn’t be as uncomfortable as I would if a teacher that didn’t know them so well said it. After all, isn’t a major part of a mother’s job to protect their children? My oldest is only 3 and change, and I doubt he understands the difference between how his parents love him and how his teachers “love” him. I would hate for him to suffer any kind of hurt over this confusion.

Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the year and I’m thinking that some people might be trying to butter me up for end-of-year gifts. How else would you explain an aide I’ve never met and seldom seen in my daughter’s building telling her she loves her right in front of me? I don’t mean to be cynical, but, well, I guess I am.

Maybe it’s because sometimes I’m insecure and overprotective. Those are my kids and no one better be trying to love them more than I do!

Or maybe I should just stop over-thinking things and be glad that my kids are the ones they “love” instead of the ones the teachers secretly complain about.

—By Amy Jo, PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

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This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. You can also find Amy Jo at her personal blog The Cheese Party (http://cheeseparty.blogspot.com/) and her review blog The Cheese Says….Mmmmm! (http://cheesepartyreviews.blogspot.com/).

May
04

She’s just not that into me

Posted by Lorain County Moms

Dating stinks. It’s been 14 years since I’ve had to deal with everything that comes with dating — the games, the anxiety, the let-down, the ego bruising, etc. Three cheers to marriage! Here. Here. (You gotta celebrate the wins.) So why am I having this feeling all over again? Because apparently my son’s friend’s mom “is just not that into me.”

How do I know you may ask? Because I asked her out on a date — a playdate, to be precise — and I got turned down. It only took me five months, two weeks and a day to get up the courage to ask another mom to come to our house for a playdate. Here’s how it went down …

My son had been asking for weeks to go to Blankety-Blank’s house. I had to explain the whole “you can’t invite yourself, you have to be invited” thing about 103 times. Those final three sent me over the edge. I made a plan. Friday I would walk into preschool and casually ask Mrs. Blankety-Blank if she’d want to get together sometime so the kids could play. Yeah, that’s how I was going to do it. I would play it cool. Friday came and I was rehearsing my intro in the shower. “Hi, I’m Jagger’s Mom. Oh Jagger just loves Blankety Blank.” “They’re so cute together!” (too ass-kissy) I try again. “I’m Lindsay, Jagger’s Mom. Jagger talks about BB all the time and asks if he could come over (not true, he really wants to go to their house but I opt for making a good first impression) so I was wondering…” Where was I going with that?! That was like the opening for a real date. Need to be more low-key — like I haven’t been stressing over this moment for a full 48 hours. “Hey, you’re BB’s mom, right? Hi. I’m Lindsay. Do you work? Like Outside of the House? I fumble. This is not good. I might as well ask her if she breastfed BB while I’m at it — get it all out on the table! I decided I was just going to shoot from the hip — no more rehearsing, this was getting ridiculous.

The day came. I had tried to get it out of my head but the moment I saw her brown flowing hair my nerves came back. She was standing right next to me at the parent sign-in sheet. My muscles tightened, my mouth went dry and I stammer something about play dates, kids, working and e-mail. I don’t remember all what was said but I scored. Big time. I didn’t get the digits but I did get an e-mail address. It was like gold in my hands. I held that paper tight and before I even pulled out of the parking lot, it was loaded into my BlackBerry.

I gave it the typical two-day wait period — not overly anxious but I also wanted her to know that I was very interested. I e-mailed and sat by the computer. (Mostly because I sit at a computer all day, but I was hoping to hear back). Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Weeks came and went and the awkwardness of our eventual meeting weighed heavy on my mind. The day came. I saw her at the snack station. We shuffled past each other with an uncomfortable left/left, right/right, you go, I go dance and never made eye contact. We couldn’t look at each other. I had made her so uncomfortable by my (play)dating advances that we were clearly never going to be the casual bookbag/coat rack meeting moms we once were. How did it all go so wrong?! Who knows? Clearly I need to work on my technique. If it’s up to me, my son may never have a playdate. Or maybe I just need a wingmom to help me through this.

—By Lindsay L., PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

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This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. Lindsay is also the Chief Blogger for the Graco corporate blog (http://blog.gracobaby.com/).

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Apr
27

Before I was a mommy, pampering was the norm

Posted by Lorain County Moms

Before I became a mommy, I loved few things more than a massage and a facial. Or a pedicure. Or a manicure. Or getting my hair done. Hell, even getting waxed. Pretty much any kind of pampering was right up my alley and an afternoon at the spa was exceptionally high on my list of favorite activities. And why not? What else did I have to do? I look back on those days, when I was young and naive and essentially without obligations, and it often feels like I’m looking back on the life of a completely different person.

That isn’t to say I’d trade what I have now for the treats I enjoyed then — as cliched as it can sound, my little boy is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The way my life has changed is for the better, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little wistful for those leisurely afternoons getting “beautified.” Because even now, when I’m treated to an hour or two at the salon, it’s not nearly as relaxing as it was back in the days when I didn’t have to come home and baby wrangle for the rest of the day. I know that before Chase came along, I did a whole lot of nothing. But I have to admit that enjoyed it. Immensely.

So it’s funny, when I think about all that time and money spent at various salons and spas, and compare it to what I now consider a luxury. Sure, the couples massage my husband treated us to for Valentine’s Day was fantastic, and I enjoyed every minute of it. But those kind of treats are few and far between, as neither our time or our dollars are as expendable as they once were. More often, I find myself enjoying activities that are more pedestrian, affordable and mundane in nature, but just as relaxing:

— Going grocery shopping — alone. Sweet Jehoshaphat, I can’t think of anything else I love more these days than getting to spend an hour or more at the grocery store, leisurely walking around, tasting samples in the prepared food department, strolling through the wine section, eying the desserts in the bakery and just generally enjoying the fact that I don’t have a screaming toddler in the basket of the cart, begging to go back to the “choo” (train) that runs along the ceiling in the back of the store. Instead of pulling my hair out, rushing through the aisles and then inevitably forgetting half of my list as I narrowly avoid yet another full scale tantrum, only to get to the checkout and realize I also left all of the coupons on the kitchen counter at home, I’m able to take care of the food shopping for the entire week, and I can return home feeling refreshed and like I’ve actually managed to get something done, instead of feeling irritated and exhausted. I wonder if Wegman’s is even aware their stores can have such restorative powers?

— Taking my car in for servicing. I had to do this a month ago or so, and rather than attempt to keep Chase entertained in the waiting area of the dealership for an hour or more, I asked my mother-in-law to watch him. It seemed like a fairly basic chore at first, but once I realized I had a full hour-and-a-half to just sit, drink coffee, and catch up on the pile of Us Weekly’s that had been littering our coffee table for weeks, I was beyond excited. I returned home refreshed, relaxed, and totally caught up on all things celebrity gossip. It was a great little break and only cost me the price of an oil change and a tire rotation.

— Flying — without an infant. Last October a good friend of mine from high school got married in St. Louis, and my husband and I made the trip out there for the wedding — sans baby boy. After multiple flights with an infant, flying without one felt positively luxurious. It felt like a vacation. Instead of worrying about how long we’d sit on the runway before taking off, I read a book and relaxed with my husband. Instead of fretting over whether I’d packed enough snacks, toys, and books, I ordered a glass of wine. Then I ordered another one. And instead of trying to figure out how to balance a diaper bag, a bag full of books, bottles and baby toys, a stinky diaper, a stroller, and one bouncing baby boy through security, I breezed right through with nothing more than my handbag. It just felt so much easier I couldn’t get over it. Leaving Chase at home with his grandparents for the first time was difficult, and I shed more than a few tears, but once we were through security I felt like I was on spring break.

I don’t know, maybe it sounds a little pathetic to find so much luxury in what would otherwise seem like the most boring and forgettable of activities. If that’s the case, well, actually, I don’t really care. I think the best part about all of these “mommy spa” activities is that they actually make me a better mom. Getting a little down time now and then, even if it is spent at the food store, or the car dealership, or in an airport security line, allows me to sit back and breathe and not feel like I’m being pulled in every single direction at once, in turn making me more relaxed and patient and able to take on the next challenge. And isn’t that what a spa is for?

——By Christina, PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. Christina also blogs at her personal blog, Little Man Chase (http://littlemanchase.blogspot.com/).

Mar
20

Throwing sand and other bad parenting decisions

Posted by besttech

As a general rule, I try not to judge other parents. But sometimes . . . well, sometimes things are so in your face that they are hard to overlook.

Today we took advantage of the warm, albeit dreary, weather and headed out to our favorite playground. All were happy in my family, as were the other children who were playing there, when a final group arrived. As they walked up, the father immediately said to his three-year-old-ish son, “You can’t play in the sand box or else we’re going home.” Well, you can imagine what ensued.

This playground has a particularly fun sandbox, the kind that has two diggers in it that can be manipulated with levers to pick up and dump piles of sand. All of the other kids there, including my own, were either presently in the sandbox or had already hit it. And so this little boy started to cry, of course. And his parents acted like he shouldn’t be crying and were frustrated by this, threatening again to go home. Which just made the boy more upset and caused him to start running away and screaming, saying at one point, “That’s not fair!” as he pointed to all the other children who were playing in the sand. And I thought to myself that indeed, it wasn’t fair.

When I step back and think about this situation, I try to decipher what the parents’ reasoning might have been. At first all I came up with was that they didn’t want him to get dirty. I find that ridiculous since I have a theory that boys should do something every day that makes them need a bath (whether or not they actually get the necessary bath in my house is another matter). Then I concocted a long, drawn-out story of why this boy might not be allowed to play in the sandbox – maybe he’s a sand-throwing addict, but that immediately made me think he should at least have the opportunity to prove himself worthy of sand play on this day. Maybe he was being punished for something he had done earlier in another area of the park. But then, why bring him over to the sand box? To flaunt it in front of him?

No matter the story I wrote in my mind, I always came back to the same issue: If he’s not allowed to play in the sandbox, then why come to that park? I can think of half-a-dozen other playgrounds within a few miles of the area that don’t have any sand whatsoever. In all seriousness, what could they have possibly expected from bringing their son within sight of other kids playing in an awesome place where he could not set foot?

There are certain scenarios that have particular meltdown potential. As we get to know our children, we learn more and more about what to avoid. We shy away from multiple errands with kids in tow, places where there is an abundance of breakables placed at their level, and surely places where other children will be joyfully doing an activity from which they are banned. You can bet I would never, ever take my children to this particular playground in the summer if I was not prepared to let them swim in the kiddie pool. The pool is set just across and in view of the playground, and to put them in that situation and not allow them to swim without expecting a complete and total tantrum from both is, in my opinion, way too much to expect.

As the frustrated mother of this boy proceeded to yell across the lot to her husband, “Let’s just go!” and the boy continued to sob I was so sad. I recognized her tone as my own, and I knew that while it may not be so extreme, I make a similar mistake probably way too often. Just a few hours ago my son wanted to ride his tricycle, which is currently sitting out on our patio waiting to be pumped with air. And I actually got frustrated with him when he continued to ask and complain after I told him he couldn’t ride it right then for various reasons, including the flat tires. It’s too much to expect, really, especially after his beloved trike has been sitting in the garage for the duration of the long winter. So he and his dad are presently out getting an air pump. And maybe some more sand for our sandbox.

——By Beth, PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. Beth also writes her personal blog, Total Mom Haircut (http://www.totalmomhaircut.com/), and contributes regularly to The Imperfect Parent Blog (http://blog.imperfectparent.com/) and Mama Speaks (http://www.mamaspeaks.com/).

Mar
04

When germs sicken mommy friendship

Posted by besttech

As our family is finally emerging from the grip of a stubborn stomach bug that ruled us for nearly a month, I’ve been reflecting on the dynamics of “germ etiquette” in my mommy friend network — and how I often feel like my (and my kids’) social survival hinges upon my mastery of all its subtleties.

Admittedly, I may have made some beginners’ missteps as this illness ran its course (my kids are rarely sick), but I am downright rattled by how, in the realm of germ politics, a fellow mom’s judgment can be harshly swift.

I was administered a particularly stinging germ etiquette slap when, in the midst of a family and friend get-together, I unexpectedly had to rush my 3-year old daughter to the bathroom as the stomach bug initially struck. I returned to the living room to find a mommy friend had corralled her husband, scooped up her child and left our house in the meantime — without so much as a goodbye. I was left wondering how I had wronged this mom, and came to the conclusion that she had expected me to more accurately connect my daughter’s lack of appetite that day (which I had mentioned to her in conversation) to a full-blown illness, and more appropriately nix our social plans.

I see this unspoken pressure to be an omniscient “mommy germ manager” manifest in other ways, such as in the “germ detective”-themed e-mails from other moms on an exhaustive search for the source of their kids’ latest infection, curious about any symptoms that may have popped up in my kids since the last time we all played together.

I believe this etiquette pressure also seeps through in the fervent apologies I get when a fellow mom’s child comes down with something either during or soon after a playdate. In my book, absolutely no crime has been committed, but perhaps I need to review the mommy germ management manual that everyone else seems to have read.

I’ve emerged from these experiences with a sickening fear of walking the germ etiquette tightrope. It’s enough to make me resolve to protect the friendships I have left by quarantining my kids at even a hint of a runny nose. And any new mommy friendships I pursue will have to come with a disclaimer that my diagnosis skills may be weak, but I sincerely mean no “ill” intent.

–By Susan Busch, PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

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This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. Susan Busch also blogs about raising close siblings at One Year Apart (http://1yearapart.blogspot.com/).

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Feb
17

Did you call my kid fat?

Posted by besttech

The other night the kids and I made the annual trek to the pediatrician for their well visits. Now I am blessed that both of my kids have been very healthy so we seldom visit the doctor except for these visits so I look forward to seeing how they have grown from the previous year. This year everything was going along swimmingly as the kids stood on the scale, against the wall, read the eye chart, and then headed into our room.

Once we were settled in, the nurse entered all the data into the laptop and when she finished asked me to review it with her. I heard that my son was pretty much right in the middle percentile range for his height (both Daddy and Mommy are short so this wasn’t any surprise) and his weight was slightly lower, producing “a pretty perfect BMI.” My ears perked up at the mention of BMI, but I didn’t really think much about it at the time. Then they proceeded to go over my daughter’s data, which again showed her height to be in the middle percentile, but her weight was in a higher percentile. This meant that her BMI was in the 90th percentile. This is where the nurse so graciously informed me they did NOT want children to be.

Excuse me? Did you really just say that my 4-year-old daughter is fat?

I was astonished to find out that our pediatrician is now using BMI (body mass index) to track children’s growth. I always thought that BMI was to determine the body fat based on height and weight of a fully grown, adult, person.

I get that there are alarming statistics on child obesity. Just the other day I read that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children 6 to 19 years old are overweight or obese. Over the past three decades the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2 to 5 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, while more than tripling for children aged 6 to 11 years. As a teacher, I also see these stats in my classroom every year.

But to some extent I worry that the statistics may also be hurting our children. This year in my classroom I had my students write down two New Year’s resolutions and here are some statistics for you: 11 out of my 20 students said they wanted to lose weight. The disturbing part of that though was that they were some of my smallest students! They most certainly did not need to worry about losing weight. Yes, for the record, nine of them were girls.

Perhaps instead of focusing so much on the obesity rate we should focus our attention on teaching all kids how to be healthy by making good food choices, exercising regularly, and most importantly, loving themselves for who they are.

Using BMI to tell me my daughter is overweight is ludicrous to me. She is 4 years old, plays soccer, takes swim lessons weekly, has gymnastics/dance class every week, and never sits still. Yes, she may be slightly shorter, but who knows when she is going to have a growth spurt all of a sudden. She eats a balanced diet with very little sugar and loves her vegetables and fruits.

Tell me how I can help her become healthier, but don’t tell me she’s fat because her BMI told you so.

–By Mel Tuttle, PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

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This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. Mel shares stories of mommy-hood along with a bit of everything else at A Box of Chocolates (http://www.melsboxofchocolates.com/).

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(c) 2009, Mel Tuttle.

As written for Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Feb
01

Carpool confessions

Posted by besttech

Love makes you do weird things, especially when you have teens. Me? I spy on my kids.

My sleuthing is spurred by a new trend. The more time my kids spend at school, the less inclined they are to talk about it. Their silence might stem from fatigue, but I suspect their reticence is caused by a baffling condition known as adolescence.

Spying is the perfect way to combat this malady, and I do my best work in the carpool line. Fortunately, I don’t have to work hard to be inconspicuous, because the teenaged mind naturally blocks out parental objects. My surveillance usually goes as follows:

At 3 p.m., I drive over to school and assume my position in the carpool line. If I’m early, I chat with other mothers and gather evidence about our teenagers’ mysterious ways. Once the school bell rings, I pull the minivan up to the sidewalk, wait for the kids to hop in, and eavesdrop on the way home. I’ve found that the more kids in the van, the more information gets spilled: We had a pop quiz today. Did you hear what Gertrude said to Harriet? There was a fight on the playground at recess.

I rely on motherly instinct to determine the best time to ask my kids about the information I gather at carpool. Strangely, they never question how I know things. Instead, they seem grateful for the chance to chat about the issues at hand. At the end of those talks, I’m always struck by how quickly my daughters are growing. Even more so, I’m reminded of how much I love them.

Spying does have its rewards. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to gas up my minivan.

By Lynn Wilson, PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

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This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. You can read more from Lynn on her blog at For Love or Funny (http://forloveorfunny.blogspot.com/).

Jan
17

I’ve never looked better

Posted by besttech

I’ve never looked better … on paper, that is. Ah — it’s that time of year again when we all decide, “THIS is the year we are going to lose weight. THIS is the year we will get back in shape.” Well for me, my perspective and my relationship with my body, has changed. Perhaps it’s the fact that this year’s birthday landed me in my “mid-30s” or maybe it’s my 2 beautiful kids that have changed my perspective in every way imaginable. Either way, it seems these days I’m just not quite as concerned about the outside as I am the inside. (Sorry, dear.) Perhaps it’s because I’ve come to terms with my “pouch” and that one dimple (you can guess where) that just won’t go away, or perhaps it’s the fact that my dad had his first heart attack at 40 but most likely it’s because the older I get, I understand that true health and fitness, not just how good your body looks, is really what helps you go the distance in life.

Every spring my company’s insurance provides us with a Health Screening (yes, I know it’s so they can detect pre-existing conditions to deny me coverage later, but I really look forward to them!). I wait by the mailbox like high schooler waits for SAT results — a little nervous but excited at the same time. I can’t wait to see if all my 5:30 a.m. spin classes have moved me out of the “normal” range and into “ideal” for my LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio. I find I walk a little taller when I notice my iron levels are “in-range” and my hemoglobin is “right-on-target.” Heck, in 2007, after having kids 19 months apart and the second one just shy of 6 months, I got a BMI that landed me in the “ideal” category! Boy was I flying high! I mean nothing says sexy like a great blood screening, don’t you think?

Now let’s be realistic, of course I care what I look like. I don’t just go to the gym at the crack-a— of dawn knowing it will help keep my triglycerides steady, but I definitely don’t obsess over my weight. I am proud of the fact that I wear a smaller size than I did before I had kids (sadly including my bra size — that may have actually fallen two sizes) but I am also proud of the fact that I am doing everything I can to stay healthy to make sure my kids get to take care of me one day. (Payback’s a bitch!) I also like the fact that my kids know that my husband and I go to the gym to stay healthy — they know it’s a priority in our lives and I think that helps to set a good example for them too.

And though it’s not likely People magazine will be printing wellness screening results in the “Sexiest People” issue next year, I do think, especially as we create our New Year’s resolutions, we all consider how “getting into great shape” is defined and think about the inside as much as we do the outside. Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2009!

–Lindsay L.,  PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

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This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. Lindsay is also the Chief Blogger for the Graco corporate blog (http://blog.gracobaby.com/).

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(c) 2009, Lindsay L.

As written for Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Dec
15

We live a wired life

Posted by besttech

By Colleen PHILADELPHIA MOMS BLOG

I suspect my household could not get more wired and I can’t stop wondering how this technology will impact my blossoming toddler and pre-schooler.

One desktop with two humongous monitors to make Web design and toggling between Web sites ultra-seamless. One laptop for Mommy to blog. A keyboard for our TV to surf the web with our Nintendo Wii. Two bonus extra mini “netbook” laptops so we can be ultra mobile on the road or on any floor of the house to jump online. And let’s not forget our iPod Touch — our super-powerful and sleek ticket to unlimited info with a few taps of our fingertips.

Dad and I find our wired life ultra convenient and intellectually stimulating — and we believe it enriches the lives of our children as the potential for entertainment and education is unlimited. The Internet is literally our window to the world. We Google pictures or video of whatever our 3-year-old aspires to learn. A few months ago we Googled photos of a chrysalis when we found the cocoon of a monarch butterfly. Lately she’s been asking for tornados thanks to her obsession with “The Wizard of Oz.” And with Santa on the way, I bet we’ll soon be Googling visions of sugarplums and instant renditions of favorite holiday carols.

Kenzie, just over 3, loves typing on the laptop and manipulates the iPod Touch perfectly for a number of games and to find her favorite songs. I’m mortified to admit I think she can navigate it even better than me. Even Kyle, almost 1, loves to carry around the iPod Touch to boogie down to his favorite tune — Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom.” Forget about Elmo if anything silver, shiny, and potentially electronic is within sight.

If my kids 3 and under are wired already, what will their life look like in 2028? I know technology will be an integral part of their lives but I can’t fathom just how wired they’ll be 20 years from now.

Do you think we’re letting our kids use our high-tech gadgets too soon? We love our wired lives, but I wonder if my kiddos would be better off spending all their play time with traditional toys like blocks, puzzles, dolls, and trains instead of us incorporating all this media and technology into playtime. Or is adapting to technology for this generation just as important as learning the ABCs and 123s?

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Colleen is a contributor to the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com. Segments of this post were originally posted on Colleen’s blog, Classy Mommy (www.classymommy.com).