Everyone has that one toy, right? You know what I'm talking about: the toy you've had since childhood that you just can't throw away, give away, or sell on eBay. For me, it's the above pictured Cat in the Hat talking doll. Mattel put a couple of these out in the '70s. They were different sizes and had different records in them with different voices that spoke slightly different catchphrases.
Mine was famous for saying more often than not: "Does your mother know I'm here?"
In the video below, I pull the string a bunch of times and you can hear all the phrases. And while the turntable speed is clearly off, I don't recall it ever sounding great. Even as a kid this cat always sounded a bit creepy.
How about you, Neatoramanauts? What's the one toy YOU can't get rid of? Let us know in the comments below...
This graph makes a lot of sense. You can spot the exact point in which puberty begins. This graph was created in a hurry by redditor rstarr13. The age axis is a little wonky, but in reality, the first ten years of your life take up a lot more brain space than the last several decades. Link -via Pleated Jeans
A child's personal project turned into a documentary Yuck: A 4th Grader's Short Documentary About School Lunch. The film is 19 minutes long and has won several film festival awards. The trailers here are just short clips, but you can find a schedule of screenings at the film site.
In the fall of 2011, fourth grader Zachary Maxwell began asking his parents if he could start packing and bringing his own lunch to school. Unfortunately, they kept insisting that he take advantage of the hot lunch being served at the school. After all, the online menu sounded delicious and the NYC Department of Education (DOE) website assured parents that the meals were nutritious. Zachary wanted to convince his parents that the online menu did not accurately represent what was really being served at his school.
In an effort to prove his point, Zachary started sneaking a small HD camera into the lunchroom to show his parents the truth. Over the next six months, Zachary would continue to gather "inside" footage and research the claims being made by the DOE and the media about the City's public school lunch program.
To the surprise of no one besides his parents, the published menus differed quite a bit from the actual lunches served in schools. To be fair, all the lunches at his elementary school are free, and I've seen much worse. But Zachary Maxwell has a wonderful career ahead of him in filmmaking, journalism, or whatever he decides to do.
Image: Igor Kolos/Shutterstock
For the fourteenth year in a row, Jacob is America's most popular baby boy name - but there are new entries in the list as compiled by the U.S. Social Security Administration. Here are the most popular baby names in 2012:
As we mentioned above, Jacob has been champ for 14 years since 1999 ("Michael" held that title from 1959 to 1998). This is the second year Sophia came at number one for girl names. Liam cracked the top 10 for the first time, perhaps because of recent movies starring Liam Neeson.
The US Social Security Administration also released the names that underwent the greatest change in popularity from 2011 to 2012:
From Social Security's press release:
Many pop-culture naming trends appear in a popular feature of Social Security’s baby names website--the “change in popularity” page. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 500 are Major and Arya.
The fastest riser on the girls’ list may have been influenced by the popular cable TV series “Game of Thrones.” Arya is the daughter of a leader of one of the Seven Kingdoms. She also is an expert sword fighter, so doubt her influence on the popular names list at your own risk.
For the boys, parents may associate Major with the military title. Acting Commissioner Colvin added “I have no doubt Major’s rising popularity as a boy’s name is in tribute to the brave members of the U.S. military, and maybe we’ll see more boys named General in the future.” You also might trace Major’s increase in popularity to a cable TV show. “Home by Novogratz” is a popular home design show featuring Major Novogratz, the youngest son of designers Robert and Cortney.
The second fastest riser for boys was Gael, and for girls, Perla. Both names most likely are on the rise due to the increase in the Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Perla is the Latinized version of Pearl and is popular among Hispanic-Americans. Gael’s popularity could be tied to Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.
Teens can sleep through anything. Well, almost anything. While a sleepy Napa, California teen was reaching for her alarm clock she was bitten on the hand by a large boa constrictor. The really strange part, neither she, nor her family, own a boa constrictor.
The teen had crossed paths with a cold-blooded killer: a three-foot long boa constrictor. Somehow the reptile slithered into the Ojeda’s apartment on the 300 block of Collier Boulevard and made itself at home. It was a specimen so large, Ojeda said that Napa County Animal Control was shocked.
“When they saw it, they were like ‘Oh crap it’s big,’ so they went and got a cage for it,” Ojeda said.
Emelyn Ojeda did have to seek medical treatment for the bite, but the incident isn't causing her to lose any sleep. Apparently she is still sleeping just fine.
KPIX5 has more: Link
My husband thinks I have never met a museum I didn't like, and he's probably right. I admit it, I am a little bit of a museum junky. I blame it on my parents who never saw something rusty or old that they didn't want to stop and look at. I would probably collect old and rusty things too, but they freak my husband out. Where I see history, he sees tetanus. So instead of hanging around swapmeets, I settle for going to museums.
As a California native, I have spent years driving past The Autry National Center located in the Griffith Park area of Los Angeles. The museum is directly across the street from the Los Angeles Zoo and you can see the striking campus from the freeway. I have always wanted to go, but for one reason or another I was never able to make it inside. All that changed a few Saturdays ago.
The Autry National Center is a museum dedicated to the diverse people of the American West. It has over 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts. The museum is a great way for kids to learn more about California and the Wild West.
Of course the museum has plenty of things behind glass for the whole family to look at, but there are plenty of hands on activities for little kids as well. Outside is small garden with waterfall and an area where children can try their hand at panning for gold.
Inside, there is a Family Discovery Gallery in the museum where children can touch, play, and learn about a Chinese American family from the 1930s. The gallery is based on the real See Family and is broken up into several small sections representing the family's home, antique store, and restaurant. The kids can try on costumes, play with toys, make a meal in the homes kitchen, or run the mock restaurant.
If you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend attending a docent-lead tour. The docents are incredibly nice and knowledgable. They also have the keys to the touch carts.
Each touch cart is themed and houses several items for the kids to hold and try on. On our tour, the kids learned about Mountain Men, Native American Indians, and Cowboys. They were able to touch animal pelts, view artifacts up-close, and try on a few pieces of clothing.
Museum outings like this can be pricey, so many of you will be happy to know that the museum offers free Tuesday every second Tuesday of the month. They also offer admission discounts to various credit card holders and bank users, so don't be afraid to ask.
It is worth noting that The Autry website boasts a series of special family events on Sundays. The events are themed and include additional kidcentric activities.
Happy Museum going!
When Austin photographer Jaime Moore's daughter Emma turned five years old, she wanted to commemorate the event with a photo shoot. But rather than dressing her up as a Disney Princess, the mother-daughter duo tried something else: dressing her up as influential women throughout history.
When I was a kid, my introduction to classical music was via Bugs Bunny cartoons. That's where I first experienced composers like Wagner ("Kill the Rabbit!") and Rossini ("Although your face looks like it might have gone through a machine..."). And who can forget Michigan J. Frog's rendition of Rossini's "Largo al Factotum?" ("La, la-la-la-la-la-la LA la!")
For better or worse, kids aren't watching the old WB cartoons like they used to. Maybe they're not PC enough or look too faded next to the awesomeness of The Clone Wars. But kids still need to be exposed to classical music in a way that's accessible. That's why I recently took my son to an evening of John Williams's music, conducted by the maestro himself.
Besides the fun atmosphere (like a mini-Comic-Con, people were all decked out in Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Superman garb), my son really enjoyed watching and listening to the big orchestra play all his favorites: "Princess Leia's Theme," "The Imperial March," "Luke's Theme," and also the theme from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Having studied classical music in college, I was able to give him special insight and explain which instruments he should watch as different sections of the orchestra brought forth different parts of the themes. If a similar concert comes to your town, I strongly recommend it as a great intro to the symphony orchestra.
Two great things have happened since the concert:
First, I notice when I'm driving him to school in the morning and have the local classical station on the radio, he'll call out which instruments he hears playing. And while not always correct, at least we're not listening to The Backyardigans and Yo Gabba Gabba every day now.
But even better, once, on the way to school, the radio was playing "Habanera" from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen and my son called out: "Hey dad! It's the song from Up!" Indeed it was! If you remember the good folks at Pixar used it extremely effectively when Mr. Fredricksen was coming down the stairlift to get to the main floor of the house.
It doesn't get much better than that! Pixar will be his WB.
This hardened criminal was apprehended on Oct. 17, 1893. The nefarious François Bertillon, aged 23 months, was nabbed for "gluttony, nibbling all the pears from a basket."
Parents of toddlers: you know how to use this photo. Keep it handy.
(Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Lilly Allen, 10, was playing hopscotch outside her home in Kent, England, when she was approached by police officers that her chalk drawings on the public pavement was criminal:
[Lilly's father Allen] told the tabloid newspaper: “Two policemen in a car drove up to her and said it was illegal to draw on the floor as it was criminal damage. "I am absolutely seething they have done this."
After the public blowback, the coppers are in retreat:
A Kent Police spokesman said in a statement: "We are trying to trace the officers, who are reported to have made this comment. "From the circumstances described, it would not appear to have been necessary to advise the young girl that chalking a hopscotch grid may be criminal damage and illegal."
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, and Mother Figures. May your Mother's Day be filled with love, laughter,
wonderful handmade cards,
May you also be lucky enough to have some sweet, sweet person clean all the goo off the inside of your minivan.
A special thank you goes out to all the hardworking preschool and elementary school teachers who help make Mother's Day so special for us Moms. I applaud your creativity, patience, and follow-through. Without you my scrapbook would be empty.
Teen Raymond Walter doesn't expect to live long because he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes muscles to waste away. That's why, he said, that he's been on an accelerated course to accomplish as much as he can with his life. Starting with graduating from college with 3 degrees at 18 years of age:
“I don’t anticipate living as long as usual,” Raymond said. “In some respects, there is a lot of pressure to get as much done as I can. I don’t waste time. I skipped three years of grade school and to some extent I’ve continued my acceleration since I reached the university level. I finished my undergraduate economics course work in my freshman year. So as a sophomore I began to take graduate courses.”
Raymond is continuing his studies by pursuing two separate doctoral degrees in math and physics. Simultaneously, of course.
The Childrens Television Workshop worked on a new show for a long time to ensure its quality before putting it on the air in 1969. Everything was finally in place, except the show still didn't have a name. A promo sketch shows Muppets mulling over possible titles, but the actual story was more frantic.
The name Sesame Street was not dreamed up by Muppets in a boardroom but the promo sketch does reference the dilemma the Workshop had in finding a name for the show. As producer Jon Stone remembers, “the name was set at the 11th hour and fifty ninth minute.” Early promotional materials simply referred to the show as a “preschool educational television show.” In early spring of 1969, the press conference announcing the show neared and producers had still not made a decision. “We were just frantic for a title,” said Joan Ganz Cooney. “Our press and publicity people were going nuts. How were they going to promote a show that had no name?”
If you give a kid your iPhone, she will ask you to use your camera. When you say okay, she will take dozens and dozens of pictures of other people's feet. Some will be her brother's feet.
Those feet will remind her of her feet and she will take dozens and dozens of pictures of her own feet.
Taking pictures of her own feet will remind her that she doesn't like wearing shoes and she will ask to take off her shoes. You will tell her no, but she will sit on the ground and take them off anyway. Your iPhone will be left laying in the dirt as you struggle to get the kids shoes back on.
Putting the shoes back on will remind the kid of feet and she will ask you to play with your iPhone.
Therapists didn't think much of Jacob Barnett's future. But his mother saw him demonstrate a prodigious memory, pattern recognition skills and an intuitive grasp of astrophysics:
One day, his mom took him stargazing. A few months later, they visited a planetarium where a professor was giving a lecture. Whenever the teacher asked questions, Jacob’s little hand shot up and he began to answer questions — easily understanding complicated theories about physics and the movement of planets.
Jacob was just 3-1/2 years old.
His mom realized that Jacob might need something that the standard special education curriculum just wasn’t giving him.
So Kristine decided to take on the job herself.
Now that's good parenting.
Until the words emerged from my mouth, I never imagined that I would ever utter the phrase, "Is there baby poop on my face?"
Lunarbaboon smiles because he knows what's coming.
If you want to discourage your teenager from texting while driving, make him or her drive a car with a manual transmission. A driver who has to work the gearshift constantly must stay focused. Seattle's NBC News affiliate describes how one local family uses this approach:
Riley's parents took notice of all those messages about the risks of using a phone while driving - too many sad stories. And while they trust their son, they're not taking any chances.
Riley has a smart phone, but when he gets in the car, it goes into a compartment. Blue Tooth? That might come later. But the car forces Riley to keep one hand on the wheel, and the other on the stick, especially in city traffic.
How do you balance death, dying, and playdates? You don't. You will try and you will fail, but that's okay. Death might be fact of life, but there is nothing normal about it.
As Mommies, many of us are taught to believe that life is all about balance. We keep strict calendars and schedules. Our time is filled juggling activities, playdates, doctors appointments, volunteering, kids' schoolwork, homework, outside-the-home work, inside-the-home work, workouts, and more work, work, work. Sure it's exhausting, but we mostly love it. Then one day someone close to you tells you that they are dying and your balance is shifted. All those balls you are juggling start to fall one by one. The funny thing is you won't notice how many balls you dropped until the whole expierence is over. How do I know this? My Dad died of cancer on November 10, 2011.
My Dad was diagnosed with cancer around May of 2008. That Mother's Day, he presented my sister and I with matching shiny necklaces. He said he wanted us to always have something from him. It was a gesture I will always treasure.
During the first few years of my Dad's illness, I believed my Dad when he said he was going to get better. My Dad would drive himself to chemo and then to work. On days when the chemo made him feel really bad he would make my Mom drive him to work and pick him up. Even when they cut his throat open to remove lymphnodes he went back to work the very day he was released from the hospital. This was not a man who was going to let cancer kill him.
My Dad fought valiantly. The cancer was just stronger.
In August of 2011, my youngest daughter turned 2. The day of her birthday party was seared in my mind. That was the day I knew my Dad was losing his war with cancer. I threw a small birthday party at my house. My Father looked thin, pale, and sad. He was also in a great deal of physical pain. I could see in his eyes that he knew this was the last family function he would attend.
From August 2011 till his death that November, I tried desperately to pretend things were normal. I didn't want the kids to suffer. I wanted their life to remain as orderly as possible. I was delusional. Nothing about those months were remotely ordinary or routine.
I planned and accepted playdates for the kids, but those playdates were abysmal failures. Playdates are supposed to be lighthearted events, with witty banter and minor complaints about significant others. They aren't supposed to include the rants of a mad women droning on and on about her Father's cancer. Intense discussions about death and dying are conversations you have with your therapist or best friend not with strangers. This kind of talk frightens people. Needless to say the playdate invitations stopped coming. The funny part is, I was at a loss as to why people didn't want to hang out with us.
My Dad's lengthy hospital stay required us to drive hours daily to the city. Everyday after work, we would pack the kids in the car and head out to UCLA's Santa Monica hospital. My husband would drop me off at the hospital and take the kids to eat. Afterwards he would be pick me up, we would put the kids into pajamas and drive home. Going to see my Dad in the hospital was just part of our routine. I tried to pretend there was nothing unusual about it, but it turned out I was a terrible actress. My Dad often called me out on my fear. In a typical fatherly fashion he always tried to make me feel better. He would tell me that everything would be okay.
The children went to school, but all extracurricular activities went missing. Weekend outings to the zoo and natural history muesum were replaced by drives to visit Papa. The kids never complained.
When my Dad was moved into a convelescent home in the Valley, I still visited everyday, but I started going alone. My Dad began to change. He became more fearful and more frightened about the road ahead. My protector started to look to me for protection. My Mom and I put on a brave face as we talked to him about being transferred home for hospice care. He would be more comfortable and he might even start to get better. I believed my own lies.
The cancer moved quickly once he went home. He was heavily medicated for the pain. He stopped eating. The last words he said to me were, " I love you." The next day he stopped talking. He lingered in a state near death for weeks.
My kids would on occassion come to see my Dad. They would spend time playing in my old room as my Mom, the caregiver and I talked. We sometimes joked and laughed. We almost always cried. This strange existence became a familiar scene.
The amount of pain and suffering my Dad endured was shocking. I honestly thought that once he passed, most of the pain I felt would go away and be replaced by relief. But it didn't. The pain actually got worse.
It took me well over a year to learn to accept my Dad's death. He was an amazing man and I still love him with all my heart. I miss him everyday, but I am so thankful that he was my Dad for 37 wonderful years. I am not okay with the fact that he died or how he died, but I know I will all be okay. He told me I will be okay, and I believe him. Everyday I am learning to deal with his passing a little better. How do I know? The playdate invitations are starting to come again.
Remember the first time you gave an olive to your child, and the emotional reaction that came over his face?
Screened at the TEDxSydney conference on Saturday The First Taste captures in delightfully slow motion the unfettered reactions of a group of children trying foods such as anchovy, Vegemite and olives for the first time.
Matt Gilmour, creative director at marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi, says the inspiration for the film came from his two-year-old daughter, whose bewildered disappointment at a gherkin features towards the end of the film.
Junior Jedi defend the weak from bullies in Episode VII! Marley Gonzales, Kai Hale, and Liam Hale star in a trailer made by Sam K. Hale for the next Star Wars film. This video won the award for Best Group Project at their elementary school's Movie Night event last month. And it looks like incredible fun, too! -via Geeks Are Sexy
Parents, here's a quick way to clean your baby's pacifier and help it become healthier in one fell swoop. Or, make that in one big lick:
The researchers found that the 65 babies whose mother or father sucked on their pacifiers to cleanse them were significantly less likely to get eczema and asthma, two conditions caused by allergic reactions, than babies whose parents did not use the cleaning technique. [...]
To investigate the role of pacifier cleaning, Bill Hesselmar of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and his colleagues analyzed data they had collected for a broader study about babies' allergies. Among the questions the parents had answered was what they did when their child's pacifier fell out of his or her mouth.
"We asked them how they cleaned the pacifier — if they rinsed them in water — and of course most of them did," Hesselmar says. But a lot of the parents did something else.
"They put it in their mouth, sucked on it and then gave it back to the children," Hesselmar says. "It's a quite common way to clean pacifier."
Rob Stein of NPR's Shots has the story: Link
Gross? It's better than eating boogers to boost your immune system!
Merrydale Elementary School in Baton Rouge, Louisana, has a problem: its test scores were abysmal. That in and of itself isn't a unique problem - many schools have low tests scores - but Merrydale's solution on how to raise its test scores is.
See, most failing schools try to improve its teaching staff to raise test scores, but the enterprising Louisiana school decided to do something else: import smarter students!
The proposal to move 100 gifted and talented students this fall from Glen Oaks Park Elementary, a C-rated school, to nearby Merrydale Elementary, an F-rated school, generated some heat Thursday. [...]
The higher-scoring gifted students would likely increase the school performance score of Merrydale from 71.2 to an estimated 77.5 under the shift, high enough to avert a state takeover.
Charles Lussier of The Advocate has the scoop: Link
You have admitted that this marvelous fruit of my loins is cute. That is insufficient. For such a child has never been born into the human race. Behold my child and wonder.
We have all heard about snow days, but have you ever heard about a sun day? In the beautiful, but rainy state of Washington a spring day filled with sunshine is something to truly celebrate.
The Bellingham Christian School in Bellgham, Washington has canceling school on May 2, 2013 because exceptionally nice weather is forecasted for the area.
To celebrate an exceptionally nice day of the spring season, to promote positive school culture and just for fun, Bellingham Christian School has decided to cancel school due to good weather.
Typically we cancel school for bad weather, so why not have some fun and cancel school due to fabulous weather? For us Washingtonians, it’s just as significant we figure. Our student body and staff are looking forward to a nice day to bask and play in the spring sun, which may end up happening May 2nd, and if not then we will hope for May 3rd. We encourage the students to get outside and play.
If you believe the weather man, it's supposed to be a lovely 70 degrees and sunny in Bellingham.
A post at reddit asked the question "What is the creepiest thing your young child has ever said to you?" There are over 12,000 responses! And more are being added even now. Buzzfeed culled some of the weirdest to present to you, including a couple that hint at reincarnation. If you are intrigued by them, you might want to go back and check out the original thread for more creepiness. Link
My 6-year-old loves, loves art. Her favorite artist hands down is Vincent van Gogh, but after a recent trip to the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), she discovered the work of Pablo Picasso and was inspired by his use of shapes and colors. What resulted was a collection of work known as My Micasso Family.
Without further ado I present to you My Micasso Family by my favorite 6-year-old artist, the truly divine, Miss M.
Daddy (aka Mr. Neatorama)
If you are ever in the Los Angeles area and are looking for something fun to do with kids, I highly recommend a trip to LACMA. LACMA has an youth program known as Arts for NexGen LACMA. This is a free youth membership program for anyone ages 17 and under. Membership includes free general admission to the permanent collection galleries and some of the special traveling art exhibitions. The best part is that each youth member can bring one adult guest for free.
Will in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air died on that basketball court in West Philadelphia. Alien and Blade Runner take place in the same universe. Batman Forever and Batman and Robin are actually movies made within the Batman universe after Bruce Wayne's secret identity was revealed.
These are theories that fans have developed about adult television programs and movies. But inventive and somewhat crazy fans have also spun out hidden connections and explanations for children's television programs. Here are eight good ones.
1. The Count, a vampire, rules Sesame Street. He feeds upon the children and enslaves the adults. Here are some of the arguments that Mighty God King makes to advance this theory:
FACT. The child cast of Sesame Street changes frequently and widely. You rarely see the same kids on the show for more than three or four episodes.
FACT. However, the adult cast of Sesame Street changes very, very rarely.
FACT. Everybody seems to take the fact that a vampire is wandering a New York City street with surprising calm.
Plato uses the sun and light to represent knowledge, truth, and reason many places in his works -- light allows us to see objects for what they really are rather than in the darkness, and the sun is the source of all light. Plato also emphasizes that true reason is something humans can never fully obtain, but it is something we can work for -- Kallipolis, the ideal city he envisions, is a fantasy that we can move towards, but we can never achieve. As imperfect rational beings, we don't know how to get there.
"Sunny days, sweepin' the clouds away. Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?"
Now, what about the philosopher ruler who must pass on his wisdom in order to educate and enlighten the world not overtly, but subtly. In the allegory, the enlightened individual who saw the light of the sun can only achieve this through creating shadowy illusions on the cave wall. However, there are many other "puppet masters" making shadows on the wall for the prisoners to watch, and they deceive and conjure things untruthfully and without reason. The enlightened one, however, because of the inevitability of his rejection were he to convey his reason directly, must use this shadowy mode of illusory puppeteering to get his message across by meager demonstration.
And that is what Sesame Street is -- the shadows on the wall, demonstrations of how we might live in a harmonious society. It's given to us at a young age through television by it's enlightened creators so that we might adapt to and absorb its positive message. Thank you, Sesame Street.
3. Do you remember Gargamel, the archnemesis of the Smurfs? He has a spell that will let him turn Smurfs into gold--provided that he has at least six Smurfs. This is among his motivations to hunt them. At other times, he wants to destroy them just to rid the world of their happiness or to eat them. Why would Gargamel want to eat the Smurfs? Because their flesh is an addictive hallucinagenic. CoCoa explains:
The Smurfs live in houses made og hollowed out mushrooms, they hollow out the mushrooms by eating the insides of it.
Psilocybin is the chemical compund in mushrooms that causes hallucinations. [...] Garagamel wants to eat the Smurfs because they are pure concentrated Psilocybin.