Saturday, March 22, 2008

Baby's first petition drive

Cross-posted to Chicago Moms Blog.

Okay, he’s not a baby. My boy is ten years old now, but still, this is a step worth commemorating. My son’s been having trouble at school because of the behavior of some of his schoolmates. He's not been bullied or picked on directly, but he often comes home in a foul mood reporting he had a bad day because of a classmate's disruptive or mean-spirited behavior.

Forget, that we've emptied his college saving account to pay for the private elementary school that's making him miserable (which he loves, even as he hates), he is suffering an emotional meltdown. He's even meeting with the school social worker, partly to help him learn to develop a Teflon exterior and partly to help him learn when to assert himself in a problematic situation.

I asked him how his recent meeting went."You don't get it! Neither does she. It's not my problem," he insisted. "I'm not the only one who's getting upset by the kids who cause problems. There are a lot of other kids who get upset, too."

He is sensitive and has a strong sense of justice, which is good, but also exacerbates his view of the situation, it is his problem. At the same time, I've talked with enough other parents to know he's right. My son isn't the only one who has a problem with the school's current behavior management policies.

I invoked Gandhi, "You've got to be the change you seek in your school. If you're not the only one who's having a problem, then you've got to make that clear to the headmaster. Maybe you should write a petition." We discussed what a petition is and how it works.The next day, he went off to school and did just that. In fact, during free time in one class, he started writing it out: We the undersigned students of .... Unsure of his spelling of discipline, he asked the teacher, who requested he stop working on the document during class. I guess free time doesn't allow for free thought. Interesting.

He eventually finished the petition. "We, the undersigned students believe that [our school] does not have enough discipline and that discipline needs to be more enforced."At lunchtime, he worked the cafeteria. He collected nearly 30 signatures--more than ten percent of the school's literate population!

I was so proud when my little activist showed it to me. I figured he'd only get two or three signatures, especially given that his theme sounds something like, Detentions for all.

The next day he turned the petition in to his homeroom teacher. I’m not sure what will happen next as the school is on break now. My boy and I discussed the fact the real solution is not, indeed, detentions for all or any laundry list of punitive measurements, but in fact involves teachers and students working together to create a safe, fun, and effective learning environment for everyone.

I hope that his action sparks some much-needed dialog and improvements. I want him to know he can make a difference.

I also blog at MOMformation.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Like a virgin, meme'd for the very first time

Thanks to Cindy at We all Fall Down and Chicago Moms Blog for tagging me. And for telling me about Ralph Covert's abs. I'm a big fan, but I never imagined a six-pack underneath his t-shirt. Really, Cindy? Also, I recently heard from a friend that Ralph used to be (maybe still is?) a volunteer at Muscular Dystrophy camps.

Here are the rules:
A. Post the rules at the beginning.

B. Answer the questions about yourself.

C. Tag 5 people and let them know in a comment on their blogs that they have been tagged. Table4Five, Viva La Feminista, Pass the Zoloft, Mama Law, Soy is the new Black

What Was I Doing 10 Years Ago?
I was very pregnant. I had just completed an innovation workshop for a client of mine.

Snacks I Enjoy: Chocolate and things dipped in chocolate.

Five Things on my To-Do List Today: make a list of what to pack for my upcoming trip, pack the suitcase, tie up loose blogging ends before my trip, exercise, explain to DH why I haven't yet packed but posted new content on my blog.

Things I Would Do if I Became a Billionaire: I would travel, read and exercise more and put a couple of million dollars away because no doubt I'll some day need it to cover medical expenses. I would also get my front teeth redone- I broke one when I was about 9 and I've got this horrible (to me) bonding job on it. I'd also get involved in philanthropic efforts- something around women and children and health/education also something Jewish.

Three Bad Habits: Eating too much chocolate, spending too much time online, losing track of time.

Five Places I Have Lived:

1. Chicago area (most of my life)

2. Austin, TX, (college)

3. Honolulu, HI (summer college internship---ahhhh)

4. Orlando, FL (Post-college Disney Internship thing)

5. a small kibbutz in Israel (just for a month)

Jobs I Have Had:

(matched with the places I lived)

1. babysitter, assistant manager at an ice cream shop and boring grown-up jobs

2. worked the counter at a pizza joint, short order cook at the co-op my senior year

3. dolphin trainer (technically summer lab intern assisting with dolphin cognition studies)

4. Orlando attraction hostess at Epcot

5. kitchen/cafeteria work with occasional hellish stints in the kibbutz factory

Things People Don't Know About Me:
See that thing about my broken tooth above. My love affair with chocolate is painfully obvious as I seem to be busting out of my clothes these day. (Oh, I'd guess I'd go shopping if I was a billionaire, too). I keep an emergency Starbucks card in my car and another in my backpack in case I leave home without my wallet. Also, I have Ralph's World songs on my iPod (see opening paragraph).

Thanks for tagging me, Cindy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Your life in six words

Readers are sharing funny and sometimes poignant six-word memoirs. Some of the comments are quite poetic. Check it out and play along over at MOMformation.

And maybe I really AM an influential blogger. I got a note from one of the GM execs yesterday. He wanted my opinion on a design matter. Really. I'm so impressed with their blogger outreach and the fact that they are genuinely seeking feedback from real people like me.

I've heard from other bloggers who will be at Johnson's Camp Baby (Baby Camp?). It's going to be a great group and I'm so excited for it...even after I found out Steph at Adventures in Babywearing would be going to Disney World with Disney, instead of Jersey with Johnson's.

First, though, my second honeymoon. Details next week at MOMformation.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Get your geek on...

It's Pi Day! Check out some great ideas to help you get your geek on for 3/14, which is also Einstein's birthday.
Guess who promised his math teacher I'd supply pies for the entire class tomorrow?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Someone has mistaken me for an influential blogger

As a result, I'm going to camp. Johnson's Baby Camp.

Honestly, I hated camp as a kid, but this one sounds pretty fun. Hanging out with a bunch of cool mombloggers courtesy of Johnson's Baby products? I'm down with that. And I'm jonesing for some little samples of Johnson's Baby Shampoo (I use it every day, on my eyelashes, really) and some Aveeno SPF 30 facial moisturizer.

I'm really not sure what all we'll be doing besides having fun, fun , fun. Oh, I guess there are some guest speakers, even one celebrity Tina Fey? Britney Spears? Jennifer Garner? Someone from The Office or Arrested Development? Those are the only ones I could recognize.

And we'll be learning about mommy and baby trends. I can't wait. Especially since I missed out on the GM plant tour because I was sick all weekend.

But even better than Camp Baby, is Camp Moldofsky, another adults-only event. Yes, DH and I are going wild for Spring Break and we will be leaving children behind.

Fun times ahead. I just have to get us all packed beforehand. And the house must be clean. It's depressing enough to come home from a vacation- in fact Pikachu once told us he never wanted to go on vacation again because it's too sad when you come home (this after spending much of the vacation pining for his bed and room). Anyway, we must come home to a neat house. Must.

I'd best get started now.

Need help getting your geek on for Pi Day (March 14)? Check out my latest at MOMformation.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A new way to pleasure myself in bed and other things I learned at the Chicago Auto Show

Funny how the blogosphere works. I wrote a post in which I invited my blog sistah Devra to crash at my place before or after her GM-sponsored visit to the Chicago Auto Show and next thing I know I’m invited, as well.

Just weeks later I found myself alone in a large, comfy bed at the Swissotel in downtown Chicago. I switched on my TV and my attention was immediately piqued by the unique viewing options. What the heck, I decided to try something a little different, even if it meant shelling out a bit of my own cash.

So I had my first taste of Internet over the TV! It might as well be porn, DH regards much of my mommy-blog reading time as so much masturbation, anyway.
Turns out it was clunky and cumbersome. Half of the screen was missing despite the fact that I was viewing on a large-screen TV. The whole process was frustratingly slow. It's an idea whose time has not yet come.

Which is fine, because I'm sure General Motors would rather I write about the new Traverse, and meeting with various executives than my experience in bed with blogging via television.

So here's the deal, GM invited a handful of car enthusiast and parent bloggers to join them for the unveiling of the new CUV, the Traverse. As part of our junket we had dinner with Ed Peper, general manager of Chevrolet along with key members of the Traverse design team, including Don Butler, the very enthusiastic executive director of truck marketing. We talked cars, we talked market research, we talked families. It was an interesting night.

The next day after the Big Reveal of the Traverse, we had a smaller Q&A with Troy Clarke, president of GM North America and group discussion with Mark LaNeve, vehicle marketing VP.

As with my previous GM experience, it was useful to be grouped with the car enthusiasts because I learned a lot from their in-depth questions and the related answers. Along these lines, I give Mark credit for not even batting an eye as we went around the room introducing ourselves and our blogs. The blog were "car this" and "auto that," and then I speak up, Kim from Hormone-colored Days. I'm sure he was like, "WTF is she doing here?"

Informative discussions and good company aside, what I found most fascinating is GM's unique approach to blogger outreach. Having participated in many different marketing events, I'm impressed by the work of Christopher Barger and his colleagues. If they can make cars as well as they execute their blog events, GM will be in good shape.

Oh yeah, and they've got to maximize fuel efficiency. And if they can bring back 0% financing, because the economy is as shaky as the steering wheel on my 2000 Subaru, we might just give GM a try.

I'll soon have a little up close and personal insight on how GM makes cars. Assuming I don't come down with the stomach bug that turned my house into a vomitorium last night (thank God we have two bathrooms), I'm going to take a GM-sponsored trip to Spring Hill, TN where they are prepping the plant to produce the Traverse. They don't know this about me, but I love factory tours (especially this one).

Here are a few of the people I met at the Car Show. I apologize for lack of links, but, well, I think I mentioned the Barf Fest at Chez Moldofsky last night, so give me a break.

Demetra of
Brian from
Isabel of
Kristin from

I also shared a ride and breakfast with Joanne Krell, director of communications for GM premium brands. Did you know Hummers get more than 8 mpg? Or that Saab is a GM brand?

For more of my musings, check out BabyCenter's MOMformation blog, where I post five times each week.