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Remember when names like Declan or Suri sounded exotic? Now it's handles like Billy or Mary that you rarely hear in the halls of preschool. An article in today's News looks at the great pains that some parents take in naming their unborn or newborn children. Offhand I know a couple of Declans, plus children named Dylan, Maeanna, Namaste, Seychelle and Wei. All terrific n…

Health and Fitness

Parent Company has just completed a trip to India. After we recover from jet lag and get back on our feet, we will have much to say about this fascinating country. In the photo above, I am riding an elephant with our travel guide, Manu, in Kerala, a region on the southwestern coast that is known as "God's own country." To give you something to read in the me…

We apologize for the light posting this week on Parent Company. We're on a secret mission that we will write about later. Let's just say we'll be crossing a big item off our bucket list. Anyone out there see the movie "Juno?" I just caught up with it. I know that some parents would object to the acceptance in it of a 16-year-old unwed girl getting pregnant. But …

Brian Reid's great blog, Rebel Dad, contains a section of reader-submitted "manifestos" about parenting. Here is a terrific section from the manifesto submitted by a mom named Michelle Grajales: Martyrs are no fun.  Have a short list of things you do every week to maintain your own happiness and sanity.  Personally, I prioritize "me time" b…

On Saturday evening, our family observed Earth Hour, at the urging of our eldest daughter. For the uninitiated, Earth Hour was a worldwide movement to turn out the lights from 8–9 p.m. on March 29 to raise awareness about climate change. Note: this isn’t a blog post about climate change; it’s a chronicle of one family’s lame attempt to participate in this global st…

Health and Fitness

You can't celebrate Easter in Buffalo without a trip to the Broadway Market , and you can't go to the Broadway Market with kids and NOT get a picture taken with the Easter Bunny, well, at least according to this mom. So we headed to the bunny area. When I saw the median kid age in the picture line was about 4, even I began to question if I was pushing this annual tradi…

Our cleaning ladies fired us this week. Those are not easy words to write, but I'm hoping that by sharing this experience I may be able to prevent others from making the mistakes I've made. We have a mother-daughter team who comes every other week to help restore order. Usually on the day when they come I go through the house in the morning with a shovel, pick axe, leaf …

Now here is a provocative essay: The novelist Harlen Coben says that spyware used by parents to monitor what their children are doing on the Internet is a good idea. Why, he says, aren't more parents using it? Coben published an op-ed article in the New York Times on Sunday in which he said that the risks of unfettered access to the Web far outweigh our offsprings' right …

I’m vindicated! My slacker attitude toward youth sports has received an unofficial endorsement from none other than Myles Brand, president of the NCAA. Here’s what he had to say in the New York Times: “The youth sports culture is overly aggressive, and while the opportunity for an athletic scholarship is not trivial, it’s easy for the opportunity to be overexagger…

Facebook used to require an e-mail address ending in dot-edu in order to register, meaning college students made up the bulk of its registered users. Now it's open to anyone who wants to sign up. I recently created a Facebook account, and on Saturday night I signed up Allison. Our 15-year-old daughter recoiled in horror on Sunday when she heard. "Mom is on Faceboo…

I'm really not one to forward jokes, cute videos, etc. Why? Because life is too short to read them. (See the Onion's hilarious take on this.) However, today I will make an exception for Parent Company readers. This viral video is great, just because of the little boy's laugh. It's guaranteed to brighten your day. Next week I promise I'll return to acting like I'm above su…

Here's a novel way to get parents and kids to exercise together: Invite the parents to gym class. A couple of elementary schools in Indianapolis did just that for one week. Parents ran, jumped and perspired in phys ed class in a program called Come Play With Me. (Note to my kids: Don't worry, our school doesn't offer this.) About five to seven parents attended each clas…

Health and Fitness

Take the TV out of your child’s bedroom, says Buffalo’s own Leonard H. Epstein, professor of pediatrics and social and preventive medicine at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Science at UB.To conduct his study, Dr. Epstein studied 80 children in Buffalo, ages 4-7, and put devices to monitor bedroom and other TVs in the house; in half the homes, the TVs were progra…

The other day I met an inspiring woman named Shobha, an immigrant from India who moved to Buffalo with her three young daughters shortly after she was widowed in 1982. We talked and learned about each other’s lives. When she arrived here, although she was a kindergarten teacher in India, she wasn’t a certified teacher here so she started working in a relative’s donut…

I have real cognitive dissonance when it comes to the kids having sleepovers. On one hand, I recognize that they are a valuable way for our children to learn to socialize. On the other hand, our family ALWAYS pays a price the day after a sleepover, which becomes the Day of the Living Dead for the exhausted participant. Our friends Alan and Isabell refer to them as "…