Category Archives: kids

thumbs up everybody (for rock and roll).

Because we could all benefit from a burst of enthusiasm and encouragement in the dark depths of February:

kid’s view of the election

When I woke Kid up this morning, his first words to me were “Did Obama get 270?” Then, questions about the popular vote, Ohio, and Florida. I hadn’t really gotten the sense that he was such a political nerd, but now I see the signs were there all along.

Four years ago, I tried to explain to my 4-year-old why I was so excited about Barack Obama becoming president. I did that thing parents do, trying to pack a U.S. History textbook and an Intro to Sociology course in a few sentences targeted to a pre-schooler, and Kid came away from the conversation thinking that Republicans don’t like to share and that they are mean to people with dark skin for no good reason. It was the best I could do. Then we made a cake to celebrate Inauguration Day:

I didn’t know that Kid was paying much attention to the election this year. Continue reading

what a summer!

Gosh, it’s been quite a summer – five separate trips not including ASA, and major family transitions. We moved to a new house, my kids both started new schools, and I did a lot of policy-related work early in the summer alongside. With all that, I miss scatterplot and my scatterbrained colleagues! I’ve been trying to read when I can, but haven’t written in a long time.

Look for that to change soon. I’m planning a long post about the feedback on our study on the Tea Party Movement; another on plagiarism and UNC’s honor court; and some retrospective stuff on disappointment and anger at President Obama, among many others. See you soon!

navigating graduate school as a (single) parent.

I’m a tremendously disorganized electronic file-keeper. While this has proven disastrous at times, it makes it fun when I stumble across gems as I’m searching for particular items. Today, while on the hunt for teaching tips I might have written, I  rediscovered an unrelated presentation I made at last year’s ASA meetings.  I thought it might be helpful to some scatterplot readers (even those without children).

I had been enlisted to talk about navigating graduate school as a single parent… Continue reading

what’s a fan to do?

My Tar Heels are miserable this year. Barely above .500, they are all but certain not to make the NCAA tourney (unless they win the ACC tourney, which would require acts of several deities acting in concert), and frankly will only be invited to the NIT because the UNC franchise is so valuable that Carolina probably brings in more TV dollars losing than, say, George Mason does winning. It’s been a difficult year in the southern part of heaven.

So why did I watch the whole debacle on Saturday when the Dark Side avenged four years of losses to the Good Side on their home court with a whipping of historic proportions? What’s a fan to do? My wife wanted to fast-forward on the TiVo. My older son, who really does consider the Duke-Carolina rivalry an epic battle between good and evil, felt more like I did: waves of horror punctuated with the kind of rapt attention that a grisly road accident commands.

I am a relatively recent convert to sports at all, having paid no attention whatsoever before moving to Chapel Hill 10 years ago. Soon after we moved here, the day after the Heels were knocked out of that year’s NCAA tournament, a disheveled homeless man sat down across from me on a Chapel Hill city bus, stretched out, and declared, “I’m ashamed to be associated with this town.” I understand why we cling to political and moral ideals even when they’re losing, which I’ve done plenty of times beginning with the Mondale-Ferraro defeat in 1984. I am, and remain, Tar Heel faithful. I’m just not clear on the social psychology of why I was and am proud to root for the Heels during and after this awful season.

crafty kid

Sunday morning cartoons this past weekend included a 1969 version of “The Origin of Spiderman” en français (probably from this series, but I’m not sure). Husband and I tried to fill in the blanks created by the language barrier, but the one thing Kid took from the show is that Spiderman sewed his own costume. Since Kid has his own Spiderman costume, and since the mask of it has been missing for a while, Kid immediately asked that we sew a mask. I thought I would faint with delight. To the fabric store!

Continue reading

mom, who were the first people in the world?

And thus began Kid’s immersion into evolution, a couple months ago in the car on the way to swim class. And I knew I’d love teaching Kid about evolution–it’s possible that Husband thinks I am too excited about it–but what I didn’t see coming is how much Kid loves it, too. Why? First, because there are dinosaurs. Kid loves dinosaurs. And second, because it’s about him. Kid loves stories about him. And a story that puts him and T-Rex into the same family tree? That is golden.

I’m no evolutionary biologist, though, so I knew I needed some help. Continue reading

another reason kid is at the right school

At this morning’s drop-off, the head of the school stuck his head out into the -12* weather to make sure I knew that the kids would get to watch the inauguration speech. “Not all of them will get it, but I think [Kid] will.”

Back at the home front, Kid and I decided that ice cream cake, not cupcakes, is the proper celebratory dessert for this historic occasion.

*That’s 10 degrees Fahrenheit for you Americans.

new year’s eve

Husband says that each holiday is my favorite, and there is some truth to that (except you, Valentine’s Day–drop dead!). But I especially like the New Year’s holiday, with all its promise to mark the passing of time, remember the good stuff and/or hope for a fresh start.

I would love to celebrate, but do you have any idea how hard it is to find a babysitter for New Year’s Eve? Yikes. All the young babysitters are out, as they can’t stay up that late. The older babysitters are partying themselves, especially up here where youngsters can join us oldsters in bars at only 19. Those in-between are hot commodities, and our go-to guy was booked by the time we asked. Normally, I would have given up there, because really, who needs to stay up past midnight? But this year, a beloved band, Woodhands, is in town, right here in the Hammer. (You may remember them from this summer at the Apple store in Montreal.) They rock, and they are nice, and we really want to go to their show.

And then, behold a New Year’s miracle! a nice gesture from a friend, who offered to host Kid on a sleepover with her kids, whom Kid loves very much. It’s his first sleepover ever, but I am confident it will go well, as Kid’s motto is Have Sheepie, Will Travel.  And we’ll even get to go to dinner before the show. Hello, 2009! It’s going to be a good year.

if not thankful, glad

It’s not Thanksgiving up here, and perhaps that’s for the best. I was so sick with a stomach virus that I had to cancel my undergrad class on Thursday, although my grad class could carry on without me. I have been various degrees of horizontal since Wednesday, and every time I feel better, I eat a little something and then I feel a little worse. I guess that’s how stomach viruses go.

Still, I’m glad that Husband was around to take good care of me, and that the 4 or so other people whose help I needed to keep my work obligations together also stepped up. And although I feared the worst when Kid hurled up his oatmeal this morning, a short nap and a day of cartoons on the couch seems to have him feeling much better. I am glad for that.

So, I am missing my hockey game right now, and I really hate to cancel class, but the timing could have been much worse: Monday is our semester review, and after that, awesome travel. I guess I’m glad I am coming up out of it rather than heading into it.

youth ethics on the internet

Education Week has a story out on research into young people’s use of the internet and how they process the ethics of life online. The study indicates that ethical decision making comes into play for kids these days much earlier than in previous generation, at least in part because of the pressures of online participation.

“Even though many young people may not be ready to participate in the wider communities that digital media open up to them, there is no controlling information about yourself or others that gets posted,” said Howard Gardner, the project’s co-director. “It’s a situation that’s foisted upon young persons who are not ready for it.”

Mr. Gardner, an eminent psychologist best known for his multiple-intelligences theory, is working with a team of researchers at Project Zero, the research center he helped create at the graduate school, to study how students’ use of digital media affects the development of their “ethical minds.”

The issues of privacy, community, and intellectual property are complex ones, and it is fascinating to see young people articulate their ethical perspectives on their everyday online activities.

friday kid blogging: a postmodern moment

Husband and Kid are on the floor of the kitchen hallway, playing a game in which hockey cards are players and a penny is the puck:

Husband: I scored!
Kid: No, you didn’t.
Husband: Let’s check the computer.

(Husband and Kid each open pretend laptops to check the slow-motion replay)

Husband: The computer says it’s a goal!
Kid: My computer says no goal!

tiny dino!

It is a mom’s dream. A new tiny dino has just been discovered. I present to you the Albertonykus borealis.*

It’s just the size of a chicken, and apparently it ate ants. So cute! Maybe next, they’ll discover a big-eyed, fuzzy dino. That would rock.

*Canadians always name their dinos patriotically.

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