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First World Problems: Academic edition

Academic sabbatical +/- having a baby: how does that work? What is the most "logical" time frame for either of these to occur? Is this a bad idea altogether? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 4, 2013 - 11 answers

What can I do if an intruder breaks in that DOESN'T require a gun?

I am a newly single mother. I live in a small town that is fairly safe, but you never know. I do not want a gun in my house since it raises the chances of a gun-related accident with children. [more inside]
posted by SarahBellum on Jun 4, 2013 - 65 answers

How much 'adult' time do you have after having kids?

Are you an adult in a two-parent, dual-income family? Do you have kids of school age? Could you give me an idea of how much "adult" time you have in a normal week? I don't mean just sex, anything that's not kid-dominated would count: date night, beers, whatever. Pop culture makes having kids out to be all-consuming from just about conception until college but I don't have any real-world frame of reference for it so I'm trying to calibrate myself.
posted by whuuuu on Jun 3, 2013 - 45 answers

Games to play on a train ride with a small child?

What are some good games to play on a long train ride with a small child (age 4)? The ipad makes him motion-sick. He gets frustrated with drawing or dot-to-dot because of the bumpy movement of the train. We have audiobooks but they won't cover the whole ride.
posted by xo on Jun 2, 2013 - 15 answers

My friend with anxiety won't help himself and I don't know what to do

A friend of mine refuses to address his anxiety issues. I don't want to lose him as a friend, but also don't know how much more I can take. Please help. [more inside]
posted by stedman15 on May 28, 2013 - 15 answers

Suggestions for stuff I can get in the mail for my six year old son?

I'd like the mailbox to have something fun for my six-year-old son from time to time without breaking the bank, or putting him into a toy-acquisition frenzy. Any suggestions?
posted by popechunk on May 24, 2013 - 42 answers

The giant pangolins of Madagascar are snoozing

My precocious but angry 2.75-year-old and I just got fired from our home daycare situation. I feel like I need Super Nanny. What now? How do I get him to stop being so rude? [more inside]
posted by woodvine on May 23, 2013 - 26 answers

Food...for a kid...on a plane.

Seeking suggestions for non-perishable foodstuffs to feed a toddler while flying cross country. [more inside]
posted by gnutron on May 23, 2013 - 22 answers

How to talk to kids about relatives who smoke?

My children's adored grandmother is a smoker. She doesn't smoke in front of the kids but does take several smoke breaks a day, and while our two year old is oblivious, our four year old is probably close to figuring out what's up. Growing up, I had no relatives who smoked, and my parents pushed the "boy, smokers sure think they look cool, don't they look stupid though?" angle which worked fine on me. Obviously that isn't going to work in this case. How do you talk with young children about smoking as a Bad Thing when relatives smoke?
posted by rouftop on May 21, 2013 - 33 answers

What is the best non-fiction book for kids in your field of study/work?

My kids (currently 6 and 9) have become voracious readers. We have a large and varied collection of excellent fiction for them, but the non-fiction collection is more haphazard. They love learning new facts as they read (the type of thing that makes them look up from the book and say, "Did you know...?"). I want to make sure that the collection of books gives them a good introduction to fields where I myself may not have enough knowledge to judge the quality/accuracy of the book. So what's the kid's book in your field that makes you say, "If only every kid got to read this book, people would understand [topic] better."? [more inside]
posted by winston on May 18, 2013 - 19 answers

Sac-SLC-Denver road trip with a five-year-old

We're road-tripping from Sacramento to Salt Lake City to Denver with our five-year-old, and are looking for tips on routes and places to stop. [more inside]
posted by DakotaPaul on May 13, 2013 - 8 answers

American toys for German kids

What are some great gifts I could bring from the US (northeast) to kids in Germany who range in age from 3 to 8 years old? What cool kid stuff is available in the US that might be novel for kids in Germany these days?
posted by plantbot on May 8, 2013 - 6 answers

did I just make up this story?

I heard this short story on audio on a family car trip ~15 years ago, give or take a few years. I'm pretty sure it was a horror story. I don't know if it was targeted towards kids, but I was elementary aged when I heard it. Two kids, a carnival, and a evil being in the clouds. [more inside]
posted by tan_coul on May 7, 2013 - 2 answers

Loft beds for children under 10

My daughters want loft beds for their room. However I'm a bit concerned about their ability to get down in the middle of the night, particularly the 5 year old, who is a bit short. I've looked into a DIY solution but I really don't have the time. Custom furniture is a bit out of the budget under $600. The Ikea models seem a bit wobbly and too tall.. Does anyone have any suggestions for ones that are lower height or preferably adjustable as the kids get taller?
posted by humanfont on May 4, 2013 - 20 answers

Graduation dinner in NYC

Old friend coming to the city in a few weeks sent me the following: "We are looking for a place for a graduation dinner. Likely about 11 people -- with a couple of kids. We want something good, but festive and fun. Any ideas?" [more inside]
posted by vrakatar on Apr 30, 2013 - 3 answers

In Portland, OR for a week with a toddler. What shouldn't I miss?

We're going to Portland for a week-long vacation (and maybe a moving trial run) in a few days. We've visited before, but this time we're taking our 2-year-old daughter, and I wanted to ask if there are any great toddler friendly destinations or day trips that we shouldn't miss. Any tips on kid-friendly restaurants and organic grocery shopping in NW Portland are also appreciated. [more inside]
posted by mmc on Apr 29, 2013 - 16 answers

What are the best IKEA products for ages one to three?

We are making a rare trip to IKEA tomorrow in part to get a table and chairs for our one-year old. What are other IKEA items that we should look at for him? [more inside]
posted by Xalf on Apr 27, 2013 - 26 answers

What are some good free download games for young kids?

I'm gifting my laptop to my far-away sister, and want to pre-load it with some fun, free, friendly games she can use to entertain her live-in grandkids (ages 4 and 2). Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by The otter lady on Apr 27, 2013 - 2 answers

Friend to employer? New relationship guidelines...

So Mr. lasamana got a job (yay!). He had an offer from a company that was not local and an offer that was local but with a fair amount of travel. We made our decision in part by Mefi. Now the question - he’s now working for the local company that includes 2 separate friends of ours. They are his bosses. He seems cool with it but I’m having an issue. We (3 couples) are friendly through our kids. 2 of ours and separately 1 each of theirs (different ages). Occasionally we got together as moms and socialized. This happens maybe 2x/year. Our conversation runs the gamut and included personal stuff. Not to mention we run into each other in the store, etc. I feel very leery all of a sudden about these relationships. Not to mention I sense a sudden cooling off by one of the wives. Is it better to let these friendships fade or maintain as if nothing changed? I should one of these couples has been very good to one of kids even including him on overnight trips and stuff. Now I’m concerned even about the propriety of that in relation to other employees. Do I have a valid concern? Want to add I really like both couples and have had great fun with the wives.
posted by lasamana on Apr 22, 2013 - 6 answers

Brady Bunch to be, please help make everyone happy.

Can you please recommend any books that might help on when/how to introduce new boyfriend/girlfriend to kids when divorced? Do you have any advice based on your experience; include anything you would do different in hindsight? I know all kids and circumstances are different but there has to be a general outline that produces happier outcomes for kids involved. More info inside. [more inside]
posted by bleucube on Apr 22, 2013 - 8 answers

Sticks and stones...

My (8 year old) son is tender hearted. I'd like to help him cope with kid insults better. So, um...how do I do that? [more inside]
posted by youandiandaflame on Apr 20, 2013 - 40 answers

Parents - what do you do to relax ?

I'm interested in how other parents manage to share the workload and arrange rest times for themselves and their partners. [more inside]
posted by sgt.serenity on Apr 19, 2013 - 24 answers

Quality paints for kids?

Where can I find paints for kids that are "professional" quality yet not "professionally" expensive? I bought Crayola paints and they are terrible. I am looking for something (a) reasonably priced but pigmented enough get my toddler excited about colors, (b) doesn't require swirling a brush for a good long minute to get the color going, (c) available on the internet. I don't mind if they are messy/unwashable. I don't know anything about colors so please specify both the brand and the type of paint in your recommendation. If the paper makes a real difference, please recommend that too!
posted by rada on Apr 19, 2013 - 13 answers

Special needs teachers deserve a special thank you

We have received services from the school district and we are about to lose our teachers due to our daughter aging out of the program. We'd like to give nice and appropriate gifts to the teachers who have helped our daughter for the last two and a half years. [more inside]
posted by look busy on Apr 18, 2013 - 16 answers

When to start kindergarten for a late-November-birthday?

My four-year-old son’s birthday is in late November. In our state, that means we can choose whether he starts (all-day) kindergarten this coming fall, when he’s 4-going-on-5, or next year, when he’ll be 5-going-on-6. I’m pretty paralyzed over this decision. I’m looking for insights, especially those with some sort of data behind them, to help. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 18, 2013 - 43 answers

Your H1N1 is in the mail...

Great-grandma is sick in the hospital. Kids want to send her letters and drawings (crayon on office paper, ca. 2013) ... but kids are sick with unknown illness (flu-like symptoms - fever, cough, etc). How to avoid spreading the germs through the mail? [more inside]
posted by jferg on Apr 15, 2013 - 18 answers

Where are the best places in LA to live with a family?

You're considering a move to Los Angeles for a job in Irvine. You and your (stay-at-home) wife are both in your early 30s, and have two young (under two years old) children. You were raised in the midwest, and prefer the suburbs. You want to live in an area that has lots of other young families and easy access to eating and shopping and preschools and other things like that. You don't want to spend more than 30 minutes or so commuting. You want to spend about $3,000 per month on rent for a 3+ bedroom single-family-home (or condo, you suppose). What areas of Los Angeles do you focus on?
posted by anonymous on Apr 15, 2013 - 25 answers

Android apps for a six-year-old?

I bought my son a low-end Android tablet and now I want to load it up with quality applications. I'm looking for equal parts entertainment, education, and beautiful UI. [more inside]
posted by Mo Nickels on Apr 5, 2013 - 8 answers

Politely parenting my kid's playdates?

My preschooler is getting just old enough to have a proper social life (playdates, birthday parties, etc.). I've got some specific questions about the parental etiquette expectations surrounding these kiddie get-togethers. [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Apr 5, 2013 - 24 answers

Why do people die from viruses?

How can I explain to my 7-year-old why viruses kill their hosts? [more inside]
posted by stinker on Apr 4, 2013 - 18 answers

A good rug for a lot of on-your-knees train-track making?

Is a cotton dhurrie rug a good choice for a kid's room? How about a wool one? [more inside]
posted by Ollie on Apr 3, 2013 - 10 answers

Looking for wonderful books I can read to my kids, one chapter at a time

My kids (a boy and a girl) are now five years old, and my wife or I read to them every night before bed. I'd like to start reading larger books to them which we can stretch out throughout a week or more, by reading them a chapter a night. Please help me put together a great reading list of age-appropriate books that will capture their imaginations and inspire happy dreams. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 2, 2013 - 61 answers

audio ebook for car ride

What audio ebook should I download for this long car ride with my bookish 10 year old, me, and my literate adult friend? [more inside]
posted by latkes on Mar 25, 2013 - 28 answers

Pick music for my 10 year-old son's iPod!

Please name one song, or album, that I should put on my 10 year-old son's iPod. [more inside]
posted by unSane on Mar 24, 2013 - 75 answers

No meat until you eat your veg?

If you follow the advice of Ellyn Satter, how do you handle second helpings when your child wants more of one food but hasn't eaten even a bite of the other things? [more inside]
posted by Ollie on Mar 24, 2013 - 9 answers

What are some unexpected/atypical reasons to have kids?

One of my friends wants to have lots of kids because she loves the idea of having many miniature versions of her husband in the house. Now, I've heard of people wanting to have kids so they can have miniature versions of themselves around the house, but wanting a miniature version of your partner was a new one to me. Are there any other surprising/non-cliched reasons to have kids? [more inside]
posted by dede on Mar 19, 2013 - 71 answers

The quest to Cat Lady-dom

I don't think I want kids and that scares me. [more inside]
posted by thank you silence on Mar 17, 2013 - 54 answers

ESL tips and games for young children

I am teaching English to a 4 and a 7 year old (separately) and I am looking for tips, games, ipad apps, or resources. [more inside]
posted by saul wright on Mar 16, 2013 - 6 answers

Is it bad to be bossy?

I'm reading Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and very much enjoying it. She talks early on about being called "bossy" as a little kid and how that characteristic has followed her and how she views it as a negative characteristic. I really identified with that as I was also called "bossy" when I was a little girl for doing a lot of the same things that Sandberg was doing as a girl -- organizing games, making up plays, telling other kids what to do. And I'm wondering about the word "bossy" and whether I should avoid it with my own little girl. [more inside]
posted by amanda on Mar 14, 2013 - 42 answers

Help my daughter not become me

My daughter is twelve, and she keeps falling behind in school, despite the school giving her tools that should keep her on-track. I think the problem is that she's just like me. My wife had great study habits, so she can't identify with our daughter's struggle. I can empathize, but my teachers, parents, and self couldn't break me, so I don't have any solutions to apply. [more inside]
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy on Mar 13, 2013 - 41 answers

Guided meditation recommendations for kid with insomnia.

My son is almost 9. He suffers from mild anxiety, and very often can't sleep at night. He gets plenty of exercise most days as he plays sports year round. He reads at night, but this doesn't always do the trick. He's a very intense kid, and rather than cut down on the sports (which very often is the source of his stress, even though he loves playing) I'd like to manage the anxiety. I think some sort of guided sleep meditation might be really useful here, and I'd love some recommendations. Most of what I've found so far either is sort of corny and a little babyish, or is not specific to sleep and is more about mindfulness and not as good for relaxation. Thanks!
posted by missuswayne on Mar 11, 2013 - 18 answers

Second-time parenting, how does that work?

Tell me about your daily schedules, parenting logistics, etc., with a newborn plus a toddler or older child. [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Mar 7, 2013 - 15 answers

What do I need to know about kids + safe & responsible computing?

Mr. BlahLaLa and I are considering buying Kid BlahLaLa a laptop for his 10th birthday. (We want him to be able to play Minecraft and browse the internet.) We're a Mac family but I'm pretty sure this computer will have to be non-Mac because they're so much cheaper, which in turn opens up a whole world of internet security questions that I usually don't think about on my mac. Plus the whole idea of "Now I'm giving my kid a computer, what do I need to think about?" type of stuff. [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa on Mar 2, 2013 - 13 answers

Another hotel question

Looking for family friendly hotel or airbnb flat for May in NYC, for visiting pals. [more inside]
posted by vrakatar on Feb 28, 2013 - 3 answers

Narrow hallway makeover!

Looking for some help making my narrow hallway a little prettier and more interesting. Bonus bookcase wood finishing/painting question inside! [more inside]
posted by amanda on Feb 23, 2013 - 10 answers

Make a three-year-old very happy!

Okay, you know that "On Top of Spaghetti" song? Can someone cleverer than me think of a second verse for that song that involves the poor meatball and A TRAIN? [more inside]
posted by logic vs love on Feb 20, 2013 - 17 answers

Do astronauts play just games in space or do they actually work?

What is the best book to introduce pre-teens to how science works in space? [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo on Feb 17, 2013 - 10 answers

PowerPC G4 OSX-native kids games

What are the available OSX native educational kids games that will run on an iMac G4 (I have the 400mhz one)? I bought the Jumpstart games off ebay, but those seem to be ClassicOS games that they just slapped a wrapper on, and as such they don't work very well. 640x480 in a tiny window not-well, for instance. [more inside]
posted by BeeDo on Feb 15, 2013 - 6 answers

NYC with a 2 year old - fun activities?

I'll be spending the day with my two year old son in New York (staying in Cobble Hill, probably heading into Manhattan) on Sat. 3/2, and am looking for suggestions for fun, reasonably-priced activities that we can do together. [more inside]
posted by ryanshepard on Feb 15, 2013 - 14 answers

What to do with a 4 year-old in Toronto this weekend?

My wife and I are taking care of our out-of-town niece, who is a month short of her fourth birthday, this weekend (and possibly our nephew, who is six months younger). We don't have kids of our own, so we're kind of clueless about how to entertain children that age. What are some fun and not-too-expensive kid-friendly things to do in Toronto this weekend? [more inside]
posted by The Card Cheat on Feb 15, 2013 - 13 answers

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