Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tiger Moms – What Everyone Is Talking About!

Amy Chua, author of the new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is causing quite a storm and providing lots to write about on blogs, twitter and facebook and talk about on TV. Chua, a Chinese American, wrote a book about how she is happy to have raised her children “the Chinese way.” This involves strenuous commitment to academic achievement and a huge amount of parental control even in the teen years – way beyond what is generally thought to be acceptable in the United States. Some people say it is the “Immigrants Way” and tied to the belief anyone can achieve the American Dream if they work hard enough. Amy’s parenting includes things like no playdates or sleepovers and only As are acceptable.

Chua explains this Chinese philosophy as commitment to family over the individual, having high expectations and teaching children about making choices.

Chua’s 18 year daughter responded to her mother’s critics with this - ”To me, it’s not about achievement or self-gratification. It’s about knowing that you’ve pushed yourself, body and mind, to the limits of your own potential.” Wouldn’t any of us be happy to have that be the philosophy of our own 18 year old?

Whether or not you agree with Chua’s philosophy, her book provides a great conversation starter for the conversation that we should be having about parenting today. I think this might be a good read for parents.

I must admit that I do wonder whether American parents today care too much about sports and entertainment and don’t put enough of their personal time into encouraging and stimulating academic achievement. I don’t think the answer is violin lessons and not allowing sleepovers and playdates. My advice is to work at finding balance. In the end we want to raise children to reach their potential. But we also want them to enjoy life.

I hope to provide intellectual stimulation for my grandson as he gets older but I’m glad that his parents won’t be doing it the “Chinese way.”

What do you think? I hope you’ll leave a comment and join the conversation.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Giveaway - A Children's Book about Alzheimer's

January is small giveaway month here at The Grandma Chronicles and so here is my next giveaway. 

Last April I wrote a long blog post about the book - "The Magic Tape Recorder" which is a children's book for learning about Alzheimer's Disease.  Many children have to deal with an elderly member of the family or friend who changes because of Alzheimer's. This book tells the story of  how a child can still relate to an older person with Alzheimer's and explains the disease so that a child can understand.  It is beautifully  illustrated.

Here is the link to my full review

This book has a $10 retail value and it is signed by the author - Grandma Joyce Simard  - a world renowned expert in the field.

Giveaway Details - Super easy to Enter - Only One Step

It is very simple to enter to win this giveaway.  Just leave a comment. 

You can have an extra entry by liking The Grandma Chronicles on facebook or tweet about the giveaway.  Just leave a comment here that you did.

Leave your comment by Sunday Jaunary 23rd at midnight and I will select the winner using and post it on Monday morning.

This is really an excellent resource for a family dealing with Alzheimer's and you don't see children's books on this subject in the bookstore shelves.  Please pass this information on to anyone who you think may be interested.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. –A Teachable Moment

I was born in 1948 and I grew up in Newark, NJ. I remember the Civil Rights Movement and watching Martin Luther King speak on our black and white TV very vividly. When my son was seven and in second grade, I was reading a children’s book about MLK that he was very interested in and interspersing the written word with my personal memories. Then my son looked at me with that wondrous look of a child and said, “Mom, were you alive when Martin Luther King was alive?” And I realized that could provide my personal living history. My son’s eyes widened as I began to talk about my personal memories. Today they call that “a teachable moment.”

When my son was 8 years old, his third grade teacher was Mrs. Einstein. That’s right – her husband was a cousin of Albert Einstein and she was a wonderful teacher. In those days MLK Day wasn’t a day off from school rather it was a day when the Dr. Martin Luther King was celebrated and children learned about him in school. Mrs. Einstein had something very special to offer. She had been a teacher in the Bronx and Dr. King had visited her classroom. He had sent her a handwritten thank note which she kept and cherished and every year she shared it with her class. More personal living history – which captures a child’s interest much more than any text book can.

Now that I am a grandmother I have even more history from a personal perspective to offer. Zach is only 19 months old so he isn’t ready yet, but if you have children in your lives who are ready to learn about history from a first had observer be sure to make and take advantage of these opportunities.

The photo in this blog is not from Mrs. Einstein's class but it is from 1964 - probably just a few years later than his visit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Snowy Day - Wordless Wednesday

The view from my ktichen having coffee

Our neighbors evergreens always provide us with a Winter Wonderland view
There are sometimes advantages to having an adult child live at home. This snowy winter mornings is one of those times. This morning, before he went to work, my son was up and snowblowing the driveway, sidewalk and path to the front porch. I'll be cooking a good dinner for him tonight.......




Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pocoyo Giveaway to Celebrate National Bubble Bath Day

January is going to be small giveaway month here at The Grandma Chronicles and I am starting off with a really fun one. You may not know it but Saturday, January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day. That’s right – National Bubble Bath Day. The concept is simple. Fill your bathtub up with bubbles and toys and then jump in and have fun. I just found out about it and was offered the opportunity to have this giveaway.

The giveaway is for a Pocoyo Bath Fun Figurine (ages 18 mos+; retail $2.99). So who is Pocoyo, you say? Have you been hiding under a rock and not watching PBS or Nick, Jr. in one of 100 countries? The series follows the adventures of three-year-old Pocoyo (“little me” in Spanish), an inquisitive and fun-loving boy and his animal friends, Elly (the elephant), Pato (the duck) and Loula (the dog). This international award winning show is popular with the pre-school set.

But Pocoyo is not just on TV. You can find Pocoyo on the Internet, in videogames, toys and with a whole online community. You can find out more about Pocoyo and download lots of activities, computer wallpaper, etc at their website.

Pocoyo toys and DVDs are available at Toys”R”Us and online at You can purchase them at Amazon by clicking on the links below where I’ve shown a couple of favorites.

I like to make my giveaways simple. There is only one thing to do to enter and an opportunity for an extra entry.

1. Leave a comment by Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 before midnight.

2. Tweet about this giveaway and let me know that you did with a comment here – will count as a second entryor,

3. Like The Grandma Chronicles on Facebook

That’s it. I’ll use to pick the winner and I’ll post it here on Thursday. If you enter, be sure to check back on Thursday.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas with a Toddler

Zach is almost 19 months old and he is thoroughly enjoying the whole Christmas season – cookie baking day, Christmas tree inspecting, opening gifts, holiday parties – and more to come as we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas.

We started opening gifts at our house on Christmas Eve and we extend our celebrating for 12 days by opening presents, entertaining or doing something special up until January 6th. We started doing this when Fran was just a toddler because we thought too much on Christmas Day would be overwhelming for her. Since I was a working Mom it also gave me a chance to do some after Christmas shopping and have a more relaxed holiday. It still is a favorite feature of our celebration and my adult children continue to embrace this tradition.

But what about Santa? Well we never said there wasn’t a Santa, but we never emphasized Santa either. Of course we did the milk and cookies for Santa but we always tried to make Christmas more of a religious holiday than one about Santa. Our church had a Christmas pageant at an early service on Christmas Eve and both of my children always participated. The year Fran was Mary we gave her a nativity ornament that now bedecks her own tree.

We always were shopping for others at Christmas too – whether it be families in a shelter in Newark or a family in Appalachia - and so sharing with others has always been part of our Christmas experience.

This year the first presents were opened on Christmas Eve at our house. Aunt Sonny, Zach’s godmother, brought this enormous package and put it in front of Zach. The adults gathered around. He looked cautiously and we encouraged him to pull away the paper. He HOWLED with laughter as he tore the paper off and finally said a big OOOOOOOOOOO as the picture came into view.

I love this picture of Zach lining up the parts on the radiator cover as his father, Josh has the look of “I see – it needs to be put together.” Little does he know that his life of putting toys together at Christmas time is just beginning with many years to come of a lot more of this activity.

Finally, here is Zach enjoying the first ride in our kitchen.

Christmas day Zach opened treasures at home, at both grandparents house and at Uncle Leonard and and Aunt Janice’s house. And on many days since there has been another small gift. He also has enjoyed the food that goes with holiday celebrations and has found this munching on appetizers before dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve to be fun also. Hmmm by the end of the week, the trees will be down, the presents will all be unwrapped, and life will be back to normal. Hmmm… I wonder what he’ll think of all that? We’ see…stay tuned.