Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Airplane Stuff

Our 9th book in our app series, Luca Lashes andhis First Airplane Ride, recently got released on iTunes and on the Amazon App Store, and it got me thinking about a few protocols for all people on airplanes. Not just for children. Today I read a story about a plane that had to land because two passengers got into a fight over reclining, and there have been many opinions both ways. So here are some simple guidelines that I have learned since I started flying at 6 months and have been on at least two airplanes a year for most of my life.

1. Bring toys/tablets/fun stuff for your kids
If you are traveling with children, do yourself and everyone else a favor and please find some way to keep your children entertained. It is very difficult to sleep on airplanes, so it is important for a parent to think ahead to make everyone’s travel experience better. We have all been on those flights where the parent has obviously not prepared for the flight, so the kids are rambunctious, kicking seats and running in the aisles. Your kids are not to blame for this, the parents are.

2. Follow the plane rules
Look, no one likes to be told what to do by some power-tripping flight attendant, but there are typically at least 150 humans trapped like sardines in steel tubes. There should probably only be 80 people per flight, but the airline companies like to stuff everything past capacity. Staying in your seat, staying buckled, following the lit signs…these are not difficult and make everyone’s life easier. Don’t be that passenger that thinks they are better than everyone else.

3. Never recline your seat
People who recline their seats are the worst people who fly. It is not your right to be in the lap of the person behind you. I wish airlines would take this option away from people’s seats. You have the right to your chair and the “leg-room” in front of you, it is not your right to take the legroom of the person behind you as well. I have seen arguments on airplanes, and every time, the person who is leaning back unnecessarily says, “If you wanted more room, you should have bought a first class ticket.” First of all, this argument applies to the person leaning back as well, so it makes no sense to bring it up. Secondly, if you lean your seat back, the person behind you cannot put their tray table down, so technically speaking, the person leaning back is to blame for lack of room, not the person behind them.

These are short, simple rules to follow, and people who don’t are to blame. I don’t like to consider myself an expert, but in this case, I have borne witness to so many different airplane behaviors since birth, and I have to say that I am an expert. For a non-business traveler, I have traveled a lot, and it is not acceptable to not be prepared for your flights. It is not the airlines or other passengers’ responsibility to make your flight better.



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Monday, August 25, 2014

He even falls over in a pose!


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Combatting Stress in Children - Guest Blog from Jackie Tortorello!

Some families handle stress better than others. Rather than expressing their feelings appropriately, they yell and scream or worse, withhold approval. While it might seem like a minor issue, the way you handle stress can impact your child.

If you were raised in a household filled with intense emotions, you might be reliving the cycle in your own home. If that is the case, take a step back and talk with friends and family about the way you feel and why. If they see a need room for improvement, therapy, regular exercise or a change in diet might help.

By helping yourself, you help your child. According to kidshealth.org, stress in children is magnified when it comes to issues at home. If they can't talk about what's going on, it's often repressed into anger, sadness or fear. A lack of creative outlets also decreases a child's chance to express their feelings.

Signs of Stress in Kids
-Headaches or stomach pains
- More mood swings than usual
-Uncooperative when it's time for extra-curricular activities
-Bedwetting
-Changes in sleep patterns
-Overreactions to minor problems

World news can also be a stress factor for kids. Tragic images and confusing stories will cause them to question the world outside. If they watch TV alone, or spend too much time on the computer, chances are they have already encountered this situation. To combat the influence of technology, watch TV with them or turn it off altogether.

The best way to reduce stress in children is by changing their diet. Eliminate sugars and artificial flours and include more fruits and vegetables. Artificial dyes can also have a negative impact on their health. Add exercise to their daily routine to help them release physical tension. Also, make sure they are get 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Naps work too!

If your child can write down sentences or draw pictures, have them keep a journal. Ask them to use it when they are feeling an emotion. Not all of their negativity needs to be captured in the pages. Draw happy pictures and write joyful poems to get in the habit of using it. When they are feeling stressed ask them why and have them write it down. This will help them process feelings.

Another way you can reduce stress in your child is by spending quality time. Take them to the park, or visit the local swimming pool. For them, knowing that you are present as a parent and caretaker is a HUGE deal.


But always remember that a certain level of stress within yourself and your child is perfectly normal. It's actually what motivates us to succeed. Children will cry and they will get scared. But as parents, it's up to you to decide when they need help and when they must fight their own battles.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, dear Son!


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Applying current issues in your parenting

So, if you are an avid newshound like me, you are watching what is happening in Ferguson, MO, with great interest. For those of you blissfully unaware, an unarmed African American teenager named Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer on Monday, and the reasons and information provided forthwith have been sketchy at best. Unlike the recent chokehold police on an unarmed African American in Staten Island, NY, the name of the police officer was deliberately withheld for 5 days, and instead of releasing his name and picture right away, the chief of police accused the teenager of a crime first.

Why, do you think, I am writing about this on what is essentially a parenting blog? Well, I think teaching your children how to interact with the police is a necessary part of parenting. I was raised one way, and it has protected me from any additional harassment even though the police have harassed me before. My parents, being from Eastern Europe post WWII, taught to me always respect and fear law enforcement, and never do anything that marks you as different in any way. Looking back, that is probably not a healthy attitude to take, but it does give one a healthy respect for authority. Here are some handy pointers….

1. Always be honest
Say you are in the car with your toddler, and you get pulled over for speeding. When the officer comes to the window, don’t get into an excuse-filled diatribe about why you were speeding and where you are going. Simply hand the police officer your information and don’t argue. Keep your hands where the officer can see them at all times, and don't talk any more than you need to. You are teaching your child to respect the law and to respect authority, model the right behavior.

2. Never raise your voice
People in authority tend to not react well when they perceive they are being yelled at. This is true of parents, teachers, bosses, police officers, etc. This kind of behavior should never be permissible in social situations anyways, but just imagine what you are teaching your child if you do act like that?


3. Keep your hands visible
This is part of modeling correct behavior involves something that most police officers will admit to being uncomfortable with. Your hands should remain as visible as possible. Police officers are under the same economic and social stress that all Americans are, and they do rightfully believe that people should automatically give them respect. Being up front, non-confrontational, and keeping your hand movements visible and to a minimum go a long way in keeping a police officer calm.

Again, a short list that most people can add to, and I hope you do. Teach your children to respect the rule of law, the lawmakers, and the law keepers. Most police officers are not the racist vigilantes that are in the news recently, and truly do take their roles as peacekeepers seriously.


This is not to say that people should be afraid of the police, or that they should accept the harassment and murder of our fellow Americans without outrage. That is not healthy to teach our children either. But it is important to increase the levels of peace and respect that we have in our country. Respect for each other keeps us safe, peaceful, and civil…who could think those are bad things?

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