Blog Posts by Mira Jacob, Shine staff

  • New Disney Channel aims to teach kids…social values?

    For anyone who learned their ABCs and 123s from PBS, the idea of educational television isn't so much a novelty as, well, what moms did when we were growing up, and what they continue to do, as each generation finds it's own Sesame Street. But according to the New York Times, Disney is about to up the ante on what can be taught over the airwaves, offering kids a chance to learn "social values and behaviors."

    Wait, really? A television show is going to teach my kid how to behave? Because though I certainly remember long talks between, say, Oscar the Grouch and Maria, I'm not I want my kid learning how to be a good human from a screen.

    I realize that sounds both technophobic and naïve, but the truth is, while most kids shows come with a hidden message about sharing or friendship or respect tucked inside, I tend to think of those as one-offs rather an a corporate-wide mission built around informing my little guy's moral compass. And while I'm sure "Doc McStuffins"-about a

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  • Facebook makes pregnancy envy really, really easy

    While Facebook has always been the perfect medium for the not-so-subtle to brag about that new house or a Caribbean vacation, a recent article in the Washington Post points to a very sad but real trend for those who use the site: the intensification of pregnancy envy.

    That's right, pregnancy envy, that pretty normal, human response to seeing the whole world pop out kids, for whatever reason, you remain childless. While there's nothing new about that feeling, the proliferation of Facebook "friends" and the frequency of their updates has left some infertile couples with a lot more of it. And while none of the people interviewed for the article thought their friends should change their behavior, they did say that watching people get what you want, day after day, year after year, can be pretty sucky. Or as Elizabeth Rivers, a 39-year-old-woman woman who has spent $80,000 trying to conceive for the last four years, describes seeing her cousin's posted sonogram:"I felt like I got punched

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  • Nickelodeon's new(ish) tween shows cater to a hard-to-please audience

    Big things are afoot in the land of kid's television, where giants Nickelodeon and Disney seem squared in an eternal face-off, and the New York Times is declaring a comeback for Nickelodeon-whose recent shows are capturing the notoriously fickle 'tween crowd, while freshening their inventory from the decade-old likes of Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer (both of which were made for the younger set).

    So what does it take to crack the 'tween code? Apparently "unsuspecting-talented-kid-is-discovered" is a great plot line, as evidenced by shows "Big Time Rush", "Victorious, and "iCarly," all of which place heavy stock in the value of fictional fame, whether it's big time (as with BTR's boy band), small time (Carly's webcast) or just in-good-time (Victorious takes place in Hollywood Performing Arts high school, where presumably, the performers will become more famous as time passes).

    While I'm always healthily suspicious of anything the Times declares a trend, my son is

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  • Needed: Your best plane travel tips for tots

    The seats we will not be riding in during our 24-hour sojourn to my motherland. The seats we will not be riding in during our 24-hour sojourn to my motherland. The panic dreams have started. Whenever I'm getting ready to do something WAY out of my comfort zone, I'll have a few bizarre, anticipatory dreams that let me know exactly how nervous I am. So last night, when LBZ and I ended up driving through Manhattan in an ice cream truck/doctor's office (don't ask, I don't know)-I realized it could only mean one thing: We're going to India this winter.

    I mean, obviously I knew that. I booked the tickets. After seven years of postponing a trip to see my much-missed grandmother, I'm going to finally get to introduce her to my husband and son. The only hitch in this plan? 24 hours of travel time with a just-turned-two-year-old.

    I'm no stranger to just how much hatred people can muster for a parent that dares put a young child on a plane, so for those who are thinking of posting "don't go" or "spare the rest of us" or my favorite retort of the truly clueless "drive"-don't bother. Seriously. I would live with a much larger world of regret if

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  • Judge rules that 4-year-old can be held accountable for death due to accident

    A judge in New York ruled that a 4-year-old girl who accidentally hit and killed an older woman with her bicycle can be sued for negligence. According to recent articles in the New York Law Journal and the New York Times, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan has permitted that a lawsuit against two children and their parents be allowed to move forward.

    The accident occurred in 2008, when the girl, her friend, and their two mothers were making their way down 52nd street. The two children, apparently racing their bicycles, struck 87-year-old Claire Menagh, who then broke her hip and died 3 months later. Since that time, the estate of Claire Menagh has sued both the children and their mothers for negligence.

    When the defense of the girl argued that the girl should not be held accountable, and that New York law prevents the prosecution of children under 4, Justice Wooten pointed out that the girl was a few months shy of 5 years old. He also said that because

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  • "What to Expect When You're Expecting" made into a movie? Please God, No

    While I know inspiration can come pretty unlikely sources, I couldn't help but gasp a little this morning when I read Lionsgate is planning on turning What to Expect When You're Expecting into a movie. According to Entertainment Weekly, the pregnancy tome--which has sold 14.5 million copies, is a perennial New York Times bestseller, and is read by a whopping 90% of pregnant Americans- is getting the "Love Actually and Valentine's Day treatment." To which I say, "Huh?"

    Really, Hollywood? What to Expect When You're Expecting? Did any of you running with this bold new concept bother to read beyond the title? Because while I can totally see how you'd want to get Jen Aniston waddling around, being cutely upended by pregnancy hijinks, WTEWYE is pretty far from romantic comedy material. In fact, for some families (mine included) it was nothing short of a horror show.

    Maybe we're not in the majority here, but every time my husband or I turned to WTEWYE for information on my pregnant

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  • How old is too old for trick-or-treating?

    Have you ever looked out your peephole and felt scared of a trick-or-treater? You're not alone. Mayor Mark Eckhert of Belleville, Ill., says he's heard a ton of complaints from frightened single mothers and senior citizens who are less than happy about the "6-foot-tall kids" that ring their doorbells on Halloween. His solution: To create an ordinance banning high-school teenagers-that is, anyone over the age of 12-from trick-or-treating.

    "When I was a kid my father said to me, 'You're too damn big to be going trick-or-treating. You're done,'" Eckhert told ABC News. "When that doesn't happen, then that's reason for the city governments to intervene."

    Intervening, in this case, means putting an age limit on trick-or-treaters, and threatening the over-12 set with a $100 fine for those who ignore the law-though, according to ABC, that fine has rarely, if ever, been actually meted out. And while some residents of Belleville have complained about the ordinance, it seems that many moreRead More »from How old is too old for trick-or-treating?
  • One Halloween activity you really can do with a toddler

    Lately, with the onslaught of seasonal activities "perfect" for kids, I've been kind of overwhelmed by everything my son is still too young to really enjoy. Teaching the real history behind the holiday? Making a costume together? Fat chance. At barely 2 years old, there's a lot of kid stuff that LBZ is not quite ready for. Take our trip to an apple orchard two weekends ago. What seemed like it would be "beautiful outdoor deliciousness" in my mind translated into "CARSEAT! CARSEAT! APPLE! CARSEAT!" for my son.

    He's not big enough to be scared of the decorations, and not old enough to be stoked about the candy, and in fact, this Halloween the only thing I've seen him truly jazzed over is spotting pumpkins.

    "PUMPKIN!" he will yell at every one he sees, sometimes offering a bold, "HI PUMPKIN, HOW ARE YOU?", sometimes whispering nervously to me, "What pumpkin doing, mommy?", like it's going to follow us.

    So this weekend, prepping for a friend's Halloween party, I decided to carve

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  • 10-year-old boy calls 911 because he doesn't like his dinner

    In a move that might have most of us at Shine snorting through the weekend, a 10-year-old boy in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, called the local authorities on October 14, complaining that although it was edible, the food his father had made him for dinner was not "to his liking."

    While Buffalo Grove police Commander Steve Husak never got the details on the offending edibles, he did let the boy know that calling an emergency number over a yucky dinner just wasn't, well, appropriate. He also didn't take further action, telling the Daily Herald, "Most people utilize the 911 system correctly, however there are rare occasions in which citizens need to be reminded of the parameters of what is and is not a police matter."

    While we're well aware of the seriousness of calling 911, and the general upping of entitlement with every passing generation, something about this situation just makes us laugh. Maybe it's the idea of a young man trying to get a handle on his own power, or lack of it. Maybe

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  • U.K. mother welcomes eating disorder over weight problem

    Aly and Corleigh Gilardoni. Image courtesy of the Daily MailAly and Corleigh Gilardoni. Image courtesy of the Daily MailHow do you make sure your daughter doesn't end up overweight? Saddle her with an early eating disorder. Or at least that's the logic Aly Gilardoni is living by as she limits her 8-year-old daughter Corleigh's food intake to just 700 calories a day. For the record, that's a little more than half of what the American Heart Association recommends for a growing girl. The kicker? Gilardoni herself is incredibly embarrassed by her own 238 pounds, thinks it severely altered her chances of being happy in the world, and spends her nights alone, gorging on junk food in bed.

    "I don't want a fat child," Gilardoni told the Daily Mail. "I'm obsessed with how she looks. I want her to be pretty and popular and she wouldn't be if she was bigger."

    And that's really the nugget here, isn't it? The semi-relatable moment that reveals itself to be completely monstrous? Because while every parent has had that fantasy of giving their kids the one thing they didn't have, the idea of that thing being

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