sexta-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2012

quinta-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2012

quarta-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2012

Contos Modernos :)

El Espirito de los Cinicos, de que nunca pensei fazer um post no blogue dos meus filhos :)

5 ways to raise a grateful child

Your 9-year-old keeps a running -- and growing -- list of toys he has to have. He's up to number 23 this season.

In-The-Moment Fix: "Emphasize that you appreciate there are many things he wants, but let him know it will only be possible to get a few of them," says Robert Brooks, Ph.D., a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and coauthor of Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. That way, you won't make him feel greedy or foolish for compiling a lengthy list, but you will set his expectations.
Another idea: Ask him to make a second list, equal in number to the things he wants to get, of things or actions he is willing to give, suggests Maureen Healy, author of 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids. For example: 1) Clean his room, 2) Help you find a charity that the family can donate to, 3) Pitch in when Dad starts wrapping presents, 4) Make a holiday card. Last, if you're in for belt-tightening this year, let him know.
Be honest, but keep it simple and undramatic so you don't scare him. Instead of saying "Dad might lose his job, so we have to cut back" -- which might make him sure you'll be losing the house next -- say something like "Nothing major is going to change, but we'll have to wait until next year to go on vacation and we have to hold off on getting the new bike you wanted." It's likely your kid will think "Okay, I can live with that," says Lerner.
Long-Term Strategy: Help him understand that gifts are thoughtful gestures, not just a way for him to score materialistic gain, says Lerner. Anytime he receives a present, point out everything the giver put into it. If a classmate makes him a friendship bracelet, for example, say "Oh, wow -- Lucy remembered that you thought these were cool. She picked out colors she knows you like, and it probably took her a whole hour to make. That is so nice."
Do this enough times and he'll get the "quality, not quantity" idea before you know it.
Your 5-year-old grimaces at the stuffed Elmo her aunt gives her and says, "But I wanted a Barbie!
In-The-Moment Fix: "The concept of hiding your own negative feelings to protect someone else's is way too complex for kids five and under," says Lerner. (Older kids get better and better but will still have frequent slipups.) So validate your daughter's feelings without responding critically, says Brooks.
Say "I know you wanted a Barbie, but let's think about all the different ways we can play with Elmo." You can also step in and model the appropriate response -- and defuse the uncomfortable situation -- by exclaiming something like "Wow, that was so thoughtful, wasn't it, Alli? Aunt Karen remembered you needed mittens!" This trick works for all ages: If your older son receives a gift he already owns, for example, say "Oh, cool! That's your favorite game!"
Write a little script for your child to follow when he gets a present, recommends Bette Freedson of the National Association of Social Workers. Come up with a stock line or two together, like "Thank you! I like it a lot!" He can also pick out one thing to specifically compliment ("This blanket feels really soft").
Long-Term Strategy: Before any gift-getting occasion, prepare your child for the possibility that she may not like all her presents, but at the same time, let her know that it's still important to show her appreciation. Remind her that people put effort into trying to find her the best thing. Then devise a special cue between the two of you, suggests Lerner, that reminds her to say thank you. When you see her mouth turning down, you can clap your hands and say "Great present!" to snap her back into good-manners mode.

You can't even take your kid to get socks or light bulbs without him whining for you to buy him something -- seemingly anything. 

In-The-Moment Fix: Before you go on any shopping trip, inform your child that you'll be hitting the mall to, say, buy gifts for his cousins. "Engage him in the process," says Lerner. "Ask him what his cousin Jane likes and which toy you should get her. Get him excited about buying for someone else." At the same time, make it clear that you won't be able to buy anything for him. Then, if your son throws a fit at the store, you can refer back to that conversation, and say something like "I know it's hard to be here when you're not getting anything, but that's the rule. Now, I really need your help finding something for Jane." Let's be honest: That might not be enough to stop his whining. But steel yourself and stay strong. Caving in will only teach him that he will eventually get his way if he complains loud or long enough.
Long-Term Strategy: Your weekends may be errand time, but try to avoid spending all your family moments pushing a shopping cart. That way, your kids won't think acquiring stuff is the leisure-time norm. (Don't get us wrong, though: We know those flattering jeans are sometimes an absolute necessity!) Denver mom Beth Korin says she and her two boys, ages 7 and 9, frequently head to the library, an indoor pool, or a rock-climbing gym instead. "We try to think of things we can do that don't involve hanging out in stores," she says. Prepare kids for these events the same way you would for gifts ("We're going to have a big, delicious meal with all of your favorite foods, and then we're going to play games!"). The idea you want to get across is that having experiences can be just as exciting as accumulating things (if not more).
Your 6-year-old gobbles down the Teddy Grahams that another parent at the playground gives him. But when you prod him to say "Thank you," he won't.
In-The-Moment Fix: It's easy to turn this "teachable moment" into a battle of wills -- one where you're repeating "I didn't hear you say thank you!" to your tantrum-ing child while the person he's supposed to thank is backing away in discomfort. But, explains Lerner, the fact that your son doesn't always say the words likely just means they haven't become a habit for him yet. "And getting into power struggles actually impedes the process," she says. So while you should definitely remind your kids to give thanks, it's best not to make a big deal about it if it doesn't happen.
Long-Term Strategy: Remind yourself to model grateful behavior. When your cookie-muncher goes silent, go ahead and say the necessary "Thank you so much!" for him. (At least until he gets older and can be counted on to follow your cues.) In your own everyday interactions, always offer warm thank-yous and praise to grocery store clerks, gas-station attendants, waiters, teachers -- anyone who's helpful to you or him. You may think your child isn't paying attention to those small moments, but he actually is.
When you say no to a DS that, according to your daughter, "everyone at school" has, she complains that all her BFFs get cooler stuff than she does.
In-The-Moment Fix: Sympathize with her frustration, but remind your daughter that, actually, many people don't have as much as she does. How? Begin a tradition of charity work and donating. Start simple: As young as age 3, children can be encouraged to go through their belongings and pick out items to donate, says Lerner. Every year after that, they can get more involved. Last year, Gabrielle Melchionda of Yarmouth, ME, and her two sons, ages 5 and 9, volunteered to decorate low-income homes for Christmas. "It was so nice to see all of the kids, mine and those who lived there, on their bellies coloring together," she says. "Later, my kids asked things like 'Was that the whole house?' It sparked conversation for months. It was an experience none of us will forget."
Long-Term Strategy: Expose your daughter to people from all walks of life. "We often try to shield our children from those who are less fortunate, but it's important that kids know how lucky they are," says Dale McGowan, a father of three in Atlanta and coauthor of Parenting Beyond Belief. So the next time you see a homeless person, pass a shelter, or read a story in the news about a needy family, he suggests, ask questions -- "Where do you think that man sleeps?" or "Can you imagine what it would be like not to have a home?" -- that get your kids to put themselves in someone else's shoes. (At the same time, assure them that your family will always have a place to call home.) You'll be surprised -- and pleased -- at how often kids are moved to want to help.
Bonus mom advice: Don't diss gifts yourself as long as your little one is around. In fact, make a point of talking about the redeeming qualities of even that hideous necklace from your mother-in-law--how shiny! "You have to model gratitude if you want your child to practice it, too," points out Janette B. Benson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver.

quarta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2012

segunda-feira, 15 de outubro de 2012

sexta-feira, 12 de outubro de 2012

domingo, 9 de setembro de 2012

sexta-feira, 7 de setembro de 2012

Why dinosaurs are important

by Dr. Dave Hone for The Guardian Science (and to be continued):

It is far from my intention to talk endlessly about dinosaurs on the Lost Worlds, but as a key part of my research and given the near endless public interest in them, they are going to keep coming up. I can assure readers that a more diverse set of posts will eventually turn up, but there are some good reasons to focus on the dinosaurs both in terms of thisscience in general and science communication in general, and that is worth dwelling on a little before I bore my readers with still more references to them.
I'll start with the issues of communication, outreach and education. With the odd exception of the children of palaeontologists, I've yet to meet a child who is not interested in dinosaurs, or at least used to be interested in dinosaurs. When I have the time and an invitation, I do give talks in schools and similar venues on dinosaurs and palaeontology, and am generally treated to a wonderful display of interest and an unending stream of questions afterwards.
There's a good deal of anecdotal evidence for this popularity, from the cheap plastic dinosaur toys that never seem to go out of fashion, the endless range of dinosaur books aimed at youngsters that appear year on year, and any new dinosaur exhibition can guarantee a queue around the block of children eager to see the new discoveries. I won't pretend to know why, but kids really do love dinosaurs and the important thing is that they do. (And let's not forget that there's no little interest from a great many adults too).
That provides a fantastic hook and instant introduction for palaeontologists and educators to get kids involved and interested in science. They might come for the giant bones, but there are a lot of good reasons for them to stay. Short of university, few people are likely to get even a cursory formal introduction to palaeontology, geology and the like during their education and moreover some things are not likely to generate much interest.
Few kids will (I suspect) willingly pick up a book on geology, perhaps not even one on general palaeontology, but most will probably own a dinosaur book or two at some point that will have been avidly devoured. Most of the better ones (even those aimed at younger readers) cover at least a little of how fossils are formed, different rock formations, the age of the Earth and the like, and thus they will be presented with at least a little geological information and there will likely also be parts on relationships between groups and changes over time thus introducing ideas about evolution, taxonomy and extinction.
In short, dinosaurs provide a wonderful way of talking to a young audience about all manner of scientific ideas and showing how things like geochemistry and biology can come together. They can also provide a great frame of reference for discussing issues in palaeontology. There might be better examples in the fossil record when discussing one issue in palaeontology or another, but one can all but guarantee that a good example on dinosaurs will be recognised and understood by the audience.
This then makes dinosaurs a superb educational tool and thus one that I'd be using here even if I didn't work on them myself, but dinosaurs are also inherently worthy of research. Well OK, any branch of science is inherently worthy of investigation as indeed is any group of organisms. It's perhaps better to say that dinosaurs do offer us some opportunities in palaeontological research that other groups don't necessarily offer. Thus while I wouldn't call them more worthy than other fossil groups, they're also going to be of interest to researchers who don't specialise in dinosaurs.
The modern terrestrial world is considered to be dominated by the mammals and this has more or less been the case since the demise of the dinosaurs (birds aside) some 65 million years ago. On an apparently unrelated note, the further back in time you go, the worse the fossil record (generally) gets. But together this means that if you want to look at a terrestrial fossil fauna that is not dominated by mammals, or the evolution of a non-mammalian group over time, or to examine a major extinction event and restructuring of a terrestrial ecosystem, or how terrestrial animals responded to the break up of the continents etc, the obvious place to turn to is the era of the dinosaurs. More recently it's pretty much all mammals. Further back the data is more patchy.
Similarly, dinosaurs were around for a very long time, and so for any kind of study of evolutionary change or diversity over a long period of time, dinosaurs are going to be a good candidate. Coupled to the fact that birds are dinosaurs and we have the opportunity to study a truly incredible and important piece of evolutionary history – the origin of powered flight – and of course gain insights into the origins and changes of the birds (themselves an important and diverse group).
Dinosaurs also include the largest terrestrial animals of all time in their ranks and so provide interest for biomechanics, the evolution of large size, the structures of ecosystems and more.
Finally, dinosaurs have already attracted a lot of research interest over the years, which means we know more about them than many other groups. While this does then become a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy, it does make them a better group for still further research or more integrated projects than some other groups as we're starting from a more solid base of knowledge.
Thus dinosaurs provide some unique research opportunities as well as more "normal" palaeontological research. Either way, though, their enduring popularity makes them a key part of the arsenal of the science educator. Kids love them and as such they are an ideal way of introducing children to other areas of science, especially those perceived to be "unsexy" or that might otherwise be overlooked.
I make no apology for my own love of dinosaurs, but I'd also be silly not to exploit their charisma and the instant recognition they bring. Non-dinosaur articles are coming, but expect more than a few that do involve them as the necessary educational relish to the beef of the Lost Worlds blog posts.

quinta-feira, 6 de setembro de 2012

terça-feira, 4 de setembro de 2012

quarta-feira, 20 de junho de 2012

segunda-feira, 11 de junho de 2012

quinta-feira, 24 de maio de 2012

quarta-feira, 9 de maio de 2012

RIP Maurice Sendak

1928 - 2012

Very good coverage from Slate Magazine

sexta-feira, 6 de abril de 2012


If I had a flower for every time I think of you,
I could walk through my own garden forever

Parabéns, Lilian Flor, adorada!

Pai e Filho, uma das minhas fotografias preferidas :)

silly, I know :)

Birthday Parties are different now - Amy Fusselman, courtesy of McSweeneys

Last week my daughter turned three. We had a little party at home and invited four other girls to celebrate.

Hey, remember ancient times, when you were a child having a birthday party and everyone who was invited to the party—this would be 8 or 10 of your own friends, not 50 of your parents’ friends—sat around in a circle on your living room floor and watched you open your gifts? And this gift-opening was not a somewhat shameful activity to engaged in alone, after the party was over, like a drug binge, but was actually one of the party’s main events? And children exclaimed over the gifts, and passed them around to examine, as if they were precious artifacts? You remember that? Well, there was a reason why parties were like that: it was a million years ago, before the Internet, and people were dumb then.

If you are old enough to remember these times, you have probably scratched your Cro-Magnon-esque forehead and felt perplexed when you have received a birthday party invitation for your kid that says, “No gifts, please.” You have been sending your kid off to birthday parties with gaily-wrapped objets for years now. You yourself learned from your mother not to arrive at a party empty-handed. Vigilance regarding this behavior was once known as good manners; gift-giving was once a hallmark of generosity. Who are these people coming along trying to change this?

I’ll tell you who: the new people, the ones who haven’t been here long. You are not one of them anymore. You, who remember a time when all objects were mute and unresponsive, and did not know, or care, that you were alive, are now part of a past that seems almost unimaginably quaint, like people who wore tall black hats and rode the stagecoach.

The new people see things differently. Here is how they think: firstly, for American kids today, there are only five presents: Ipod, Ipod Touch, Wii, Xbox, and Playstation. Most kids have one or all of those already, and they don’t want any other crap from you.

This brings us to the second point, which is that kids do not want crap anymore, period. This is another vestige of your bygone days, when American toddlers—perhaps you were one of them—played happily with boxes, lint, bread twisty-ties, bugs, and dirt; when a plastic harmonica was an exciting thing you could blow into once and then stomp on, and then you could examine all the excitingly sharp smithereens. Kids do not want to deal with that stuff anymore. They don’t want to examine stuff that ignores them. Exploring that junk is for the kids in Africa, who live on piles of it.

American kids do not want objects at all, except for the aforementioned five. They want experiences. And here are some of the things they want to experience to celebrate the miraculous day of their birth: torturing pygmies by throwing them in volcanoes; slicing airborne watermelons with giant knives; and listening to a cute, red, retarded creature imitating their speech. They want to do all this, while sitting on the couch with their friends, in a clean, dry, temperature-controlled environment, eating Nerds and drinking red water from single-serve plastic bottles.

But my daughter is young, and I am still in charge of her parties, so her party was not like that. Her party involved multi-colored balloons, playing with the toys we have around the house, a round cake, and in an impromptu finale, several rounds of Ring-Around-the-Rosie, including the second verse, which I had never heard before, but another mom knew: “Cows are in the meadow/Eating buttercups/Thunder, lightning/We all jump up!”

It was surprising to me how the jumping-up of verse two made the falling-down of verse one much more satisfying: it made Ring-Around-the-Rosie more like The Ring, which was good; personally, I think we can always use a little more Wagner in our American childhood rituals.

And although the whole party was over in less than 90 minutes (hardly Wagner-ian, alas) and ended without a disaster (also not very operatic), it did contain a Gotterdammerung-ian moment of realization—for me, that is—which began when the first guest walked in the door with a large, octagon-shaped present.

When I saw it, I got all excited, because I could only think of one toy that could possibly be inside, and it was one of those brightly-colored, German, wooden mosaic puzzles I have had my eye on for years now. I sat next to my daughter as she tugged at the bow. Inside were six—six—pairs of pink and white plastic high heels, each adorned with jewels and/or feathers.

I watched my girl, who rides around our apartment nude a lot on her scooter, as she toddled unevenly in the shoes, and remembered what my Russian-born, theater-director friend Yelena said when I told her I was having a girl. Yelena, then pregnant with her third boy, looked at me conspiratorially and asked: “How are you going to tell her she’s fucked?”

I laughed.

Now, a few years later, I realize that this is, in fact, one of the more vexing questions of my girl’s childhood, and that the usual course of events is that people do not tell this to their girl children at all.

But why not? Why should I not just tell my girl that she is burdened in a way that her two older brothers are not? To say the truth does not mean that we don’t wish it were otherwise.

So far, I have been avoiding the issue. I donated the high heels, as well as the purple plastic vacuum cleaner Grandma got her for Christmas. And I suppose I could just go on like this, trying to keep the truth at bay, telling the bemused and eye-rolling parents of my girl’s friends that if they are going to get her anything for her birthday they should make sure it’s suitable for a future physicist. And I could just continue looking for books that don’t have insipid princess themes to read to her, and then I could send her to a girls’ school, so she can hear about how girls can rule the world and all that.

Or I could just start, right now, to tell the truth, and maybe that would not be as much of a disservice as we fear—maybe it would actually helps things a little.

I could say, you know, your brothers are studying hard because they are going to go out in the world and make money someday, but you will probably end up married and having children, so why bother? Did I tell you how I spent my early 20s? I sat in a lovely wood-paneled room under the tutelage of a future Nobel Prize winner who was sued for sexual harassment. And you know what I do now? Clean up poop. And tell your brothers not to hit each other.

Or I could say, the reason you are not going to play flag football today and your seven-year-old brother is, is because you are a girl and girls are supposed to be pretty and smell nice and not clock people and say “Hey, fucko” like he does. So work on that, I have some frosty lip gloss for you to get all excited about. Girl power, yay!

And then, if she brings up that’s it’s unfair, and why is it that way, I’ll just say it’s because girls grow into women, and women have the children. So you can try not to have any children; that would probably help you. Now come here and hug me and we can bake some cookies together.

I was thinking about all this, at the party, with images of “Ring-Around-The Rosie”/The Ring in my head. The Ring has been performed here in New York City this season, and I saw Gotterdammerung the previous week. I saw almost all of it, that is. I left after the second intermission—that would be four hours into it—which, after having seen the previous three installments (Das RheingoldDie Walkure, and Siegfried) in their entirety—is a little like deciding to stop running the NYC marathon with 10 minutes left.

I left early without thinking too much about why—I was tired—but looking back I believe there was something about seeing The Ring through to the end that was challenging in the same way that children are challenging to their parents. Unlike the power-ballad thesis put forth in The Lion King, the circle of life, especially when it starts coming to a close, is not calming and reassuring at all: it is terrifying and disturbing, the kind of terrifying and disturbing that makes you want to suddenly leave the plush chair of the theater and go for a long soothing walk down Ninth Avenue eating Skittles.

And the recognition of this fact, and the embrace of it, and the determination to see this perspective through to the end, is going to be the next big wave in parenting, I am telling you. It’s going to Ring-big, and I am going to start in church basements, giving talks about mosaic puzzles and honesty, and then slowly and surely I am going to write gigantic, Dr.Sears-size, paperback books full of advice, and in order to reassure my future audience that I am a complete and total authority on this and every other subject, I am going to hook a giant, creaky machine to my pants and hoist myself up to the rafters as a learned person, “Doctor” Amy Fusselman, pleased to meet you.
Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?
Be well. Until next time!

Wishlist: O Grande Livro dos Medos e das Birras

Estamos mesmo (todos) a crescer ;)

On Wormholes, by Amy Fusselman, courtesy of McSweeney's

OK, folks. I have a really important parenting subject to tackle today, one I haven’t seen addressed much elsewhere in the parenting mags and whatnot, so I hope you are paying attention. And the important subject I am addressing is: wormholes.

You are probably thinking I mean “pinworms,” which is that awful kid sickness where worms come out of your beloved progeny’s bottom. I am not thinking of that.

I am thinking of wormholes, which is what I am calling things like the following. When I was a kid, if you had asked me to show you the art in my bedroom, I would have refrained from pointing to the framed picture on the wall, which was familiar but not interesting to me. I would have showed you the cover of my favorite book about Florence Nightingale, which had an image of Florence in her spotless nurse’s uniform, lifting a lamp in her right hand, tending to a bandaged solider in a row of bandaged soldiers in what looked like a mountain cave where black bears were also lurking. And I would have shown you my art. I had a period where I obsessively drew a female figure in a tight bun wearing a purple 18th century dress and black boots.

I would not have shown you the wormhole, which was located in my closet. By that I mean, it was in the woodgrain of the closet door. It was in the wood-whorl pattern there. Those whorls, so meaningless during the day, took on another dimension in the 8 PM light of my bedroom, and came alive, shimmying and swirling, threatening to leap out of their two dimensional space and swallow me. To look towards those whorls in the half dark of my bedroom was an act of tremendous courage. At night they were as terrible as shrunken heads.

I want to talk to you about this, because I think every kid has some version of this, and adults almost always miss it.

I am reminded of one of my son’s very sweet and wonderful kindergarten friends, who had this habit of coming into school every day, and literally throwing his jacket and back pack in the general direction of his cubby before flying upstairs to his classroom. The child came on the bus, so he had no parent to correct this, and the upshot was that other little boys in his class, often including my son, began to imitate this delightful, early morning, chucking of stuff, and then tearing off, so that the cubby area was always a giant chaotic mess.

Teachers and parents did what you would imagine: insist that the child put his stuff in his cubby properly, march him back down stairs to do so, etc, and that worked fine as long as a grown up did that. But a grown up didn’t always do that. And so months went by and finally it was February, and the piles of coats and missed mittens were getting really annoying, so I finally asked my son, why the heck does Bill do that? Why can’t he put his stuff away nicely?

My son’s reply was straightforward: he thinks there is a monster in the toilet.
The toilet was located six feet from the cubbies.

This makes perfect sense. Why can’t you put your backpack away properly? Because if I stop at my cubby a monster from the toilet will come out and eat me.

Why do you have to sleep in that particular position on your bed?Because if I face the other direction I will have to look at the terrifying, murderous patterns in the cheap woodgrain of my closet.

I believe that these sensitivities, particular to childhood, are amazing and wonderful, and I would like, as a start to this column, to invite readers to submit the wormholes of their childhoods, if they have them and remember them, so that we may have a “Wormhole of the Month,” or perhaps, “Wormhole of the Year” award, and in that way, as parents, remember a little bit about the differences in perception of the small creatures in our care.

Please click on my name and submit to me. Thank you.

quinta-feira, 22 de março de 2012

segunda-feira, 19 de março de 2012

quinta-feira, 15 de março de 2012

It's A Big World

Thanx to our dearest Catalan Auntie MJ :-D

quarta-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2012

That's us ;)

(on gender differences)

"Many puzzled parents have wondered where this highly stereotyped behavior comes from, especially in households where Mom wouldn't be caught dead in a pink frilly dress and Dad would rather cook dinner than watch sports."

Welcome to Your Child's Brain - blog

terça-feira, 10 de janeiro de 2012

Malawi wildlife

From The Telegraph