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How do parents cope with the stress of making a living while also trying to make a life for their families? A lot of us don't handle the stress well -- this writer included -- and a newly published paper by a Harvard graduate student suggests that too many of us will pay for it by getting sick or, well, worse. The report by Noam Kirson warns of some dire potential health …

Health and Fitness

  Isn't Santa's job hard enough without making him worry about political correctness?(Associated Press photo) The war on Christmas continues! Or, should I say, "the holidays." In Sydney, Australia, the city's Santa Clauses have been told to refrain from using the traditional "Ho, ho, ho" greeting, and to replace it with "Ha, ha, ha."…

Health and Fitness

You can’t pick up the paper or hear the news these days without some horrifying Toys Gone Wild manufacturing snafu, the most bizarre of which was this week's discovery that the popular Aqua Dots craft, if ingested, contains a chemical that converts to the date rape drug gamma hydroxy butyrate. Does life get any more bizarre than this? I must admit that the toy does resem…

Health and Fitness

The winning woman in Sunday's New York City Marathon was Paula Radcliffe, the 33-year-old holder of the world marathon record for women. Not bad for someone who gave birth nine months ago. Radcliffe held her daughter, Isla, after winning her seventh overall marathon in eight career starts. She's obviously an incredible athlete, and I don't mean to make light of her amazi…

A front-page article in today's Buffalo News details a Census Bureau study that found parents are spending more time reading to youngsters, and setting more restrictions on TV watching, than they did a decade ago. That's good news, but I can't help but wonder if a lot of the additional reading we are doing is due to book reports. That is, the books the kids are supposed t…

This year we are right-sizing Halloween to be just a one-night event, yes, the way it used to be; not the consumption-fest and week-long series of parties that it has become.  Things we did do this year: bought pumpkins and a few random gourds for fun, purchased enough candy to have some extra but not too much, bought modest costumes (such as a Rastafarian hat with …

Mark Glaser, the new media columnist for PBS.org, has a terrific essay this week titled "How cell phones are killing face-to-face interactions." Writes Glaser: "For young people especially, having a cell phone or iPod in hand and at the ready is the default mode while walking the streets. That means much less chance of conversation with the people who popul…

A few links to scan while you're waiting for the loan shark's check to clear so you can buy Halloween costumes: This soccer mom in Long Island was VERY upset when the coach of her daughter's team dropped her from the e-mailing list. Whatever happened to Danica McKellar from TV's "The Wonder Years"? She wants to get your kids high -- on math. Good grief! Who kn…

Health and Fitness

(Associated Press photo) Tara Parker-Pope, a New York Times blogger, today writes about the ever-more-frequent habit of parents bringing their babies into their beds to sleep with them. (Click here for her article.) “In the affluent West,” she writes, “the practice is widely frowned on, not just by grandparents and friends, but by the medical community at large.” The…

Overscheduled and over-stressed family life -- does that sound familiar? An article in today's Wall Street Journal says that many fed-up families are hiring family coaches to try to get a handle on their out-of-control lives. The coaches charge anywhere from $25 to $90 an hour. Several specialize in trying to help families get their homes in order, before getting the re…

"Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade."Those are the words of Autism Speaks, a nonprofit organization that today launched an online video glossary to educate parents and others about early signs of autism in …

An article in the New York Times tells parents to cut themselves some slack if their children are picky eaters. It turns out that being a picky eater, which can morph into a fear of new foods, is something we pass to the kids through our genes. This is a huge concern for families today. Allison and I have a culinary mixed marriage -- she doesn't eat meat or seafood, so sh…

On Sunday we invoked another family tradition -- the annual Columbus Day trifecta trip up Transit Road/Rt. 78 to Olcott-Newfane for a bag of Bye's popcorn, a ride on the Olcott Carousel, and fruit picking at Murphy Orchards. It's my homage to regional historical randomness, with snacks.I learned about Bye's -- stop #1 on our trifecta -- reading a Joyce Carol Oates essay in…

I'll bet you didn't know that October is International Walk to School Month.The thinking is that children need to be more active for their health, so why not start with walking to school? There is no way for me to express this without sounding like a 90-year-old crank, so I won't even try not to. Back in my day, kids actually did walk to school. Why do we require buses to…

There won't be a test, but here is today's suggested reading: Jeff Opdyke of the Wall Street Journal complains about how much homework his fifth-grade son is given. He says the homework is disrupting his family's life, "always hanging over our head." Our Western New York economy is not booming, but our daily commute is wonderful compared to what some families c…