Pragmatic Mom

February 2, 2010

Welcome to Pragmatic Mom!

I’m a mom with three kids, ages 10, 7 and 5  and I live in a suburb outside of Boston.  I’ve been a full-time bread-winner (with my first child — my husband stayed home with her), a stay-at-home mom (with my second child because my husband said that if he had to stay home with two kids he’d be forced to leave us), and a part-time, outside-the- home wage earner/stay-at-home mom (just recently and coinciding with my third child’s 4 hour day at preschool).

Over the years, I’ve found that I wished I’ve saved all the mom advice I have either learned from mom friends or learned the hard way.  Now, I’m documenting it in hopes that it will be useful to you.  Topics include:  Best Investment Toys, Favorite Picture Books You’ve Never Heard Of, Favorite Books for Reluctant Boy Readers, Easy Dinners,  Getting Rid of Lice, Short List of Baby Equipment, Supplemental Education Tools for Phonics and Math, Birthday Presents for Around $20, and How to Set up a Book Club for your kids.

I blog everyday, more or less.  My blog is a virtual scrapbook for the all clippings and pieces of information that I used to save or try to remember.  My house is much cleaner as is my email box now that I can transfer and organize my “stuff.”   The topics I cover range from parenting to supplemental home education workbooks to learning foreign languages to cooking.   This clearing of paper is good feng shui for my house!

I am especially interested in children’s literature.  This is a return to my childhood when I was a professional geek and read every fiction and biography book  in my elementary school library.  True story:  I got called out of class one day because the school librarian said that I had checked out thirty books and my limit was two.  Well…I did read them all and sadly, not all of them were good.  It’s been a real pleasure for me to read children’s literature now, 30 years later than my elementary school experience.  What a lot of amazing books have been written since then!  I am eager to share these plus old favorites as well as other topics that I grapple with or catch my attention.  I usually read every book that I list and it sometimes takes me a day or two to read each book so if you are interested in the book lists, I do frequently add as I discover new books.  My opinion of what age the book is appropriate for, is just that, my humble opinion, but I also do consult book lists from libraries both to find new books and to place the books into age slots.  It’s especially tricky to place 4 & 5th grade versus middle school because it is a content call.

Any of the items pictured can be purchased on Amazon by clicking on the image.  Please let me know if there are other topics of interest to you and please share your advice!   You can email me at pragmaticmom.com@gmail.com.

Together, we can get through the ups and downs of parenting.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

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January 21, 2010

The Birds and Bees Talk

My dad friend from high school suggested this topic.  He has three boys; the oldest is in 4th grade.  He said that he attempted “The Talk” but his son was really embarrassed and shouted him out of the room.  That got me thinking:   1) I need to The Talk myself.  2) Why re- invent the wheel?  I don’t know exactly what to say either, but why do we parents always try to do everything ourselves?  3) ugh!

This is a big topic of discussion among the 4th grade moms that I know.  Whenever I’m at a mom event and I run into the moms of my oldest daughter’s friends, we all confer among ourselves….have you had the sex talk yet?  It’s requires lock-step coordination because we all know this information will be widely shared amongst the group of about a dozen girls who run a in loose pack.  There are several mom worries:  I don’t want my daughter to feel left out or ignorant; I want to give my daughter correct information because who knows how distorted the information will become; I don’t want to overwhelm her with too much information; and my daughter is less sophisticated than your daughter.  Whew!  Add that to a uncomfortable topic and you get … procrastination!

I’m a book girl, and I bought an appropriate book years ago and squirreled it away for the right time.  But when is the right time?  Does it need a preface introduction, i.e. Sex Ed 101 before handing it over?  Finally, after realizing that 3rd grade is probably the right time and I’m now a bit behind, I just handed her a book and said, “This is an interesting book.  Read it over and then I go over it with you.”  My husband was alarmed by the fascination my daughter had with the book.  Finally, I sat down with her to answer questions.  She immediately turned to the sex section, but …phew!, she was mostly confused by the illustration in the section.  I had to admit, it was a confusing, albeit, scientific illustration depicting the uterus, vagina and penis in cross-section.

My mom friend who is an elementary school psychologist did not get off so easy.  She gave her daughter several books.  Her daughter read them diligently and then asked her, “It says in my book that adults have sex for fun.  Do you and dad have sex for fun?”  This mom is the unfazed type.  Her response:  “That is an inappropriate question and I’m not going to answer that.”

This is the book I used:  Understanding the Facts of Life.    It’s very matter of fact and sciency in a Biology 101 way.  I find that I just read the chapter in question and answer questions, typically explaining the sciency vocabulary.  It’s not embarrassing in any way, covers all the necessary topics, and is very informative.  I do recommend it.  And a neighbor mom friend borrowed it several years ago for her son and it worked well for her so it’s a unisex sex book!

I would love your comments and advice on this topic!

To buy this book, click on the image to purchase at Amazon.com.

For those who want a Birds and Bees “Lite” book, several moms have recommended the American Girl Series It’s a Girl Thing.  I’m told the body changes are limited to body odor.

A thank you to reader, “Nancy,” who recommends The Care and Keeping of You by American Girl Series for an elementary school girl, and It’s So Amazing!:  A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families for a middle schooler and elementary school girl.

Here are two books for boys:  What’s Going on Down There:  Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask by Chava Castro and My Body, My Self For Boys, revised 3rd edition  (What’s Happening to My Body?) by Linda Madara.

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