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More babies named after Apple products in 2012

Posted by Kristi Palma November 30, 2012 04:45 PM

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Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

It seems new parents this year have technology on the brain.

Earlier this week we told you about a baby named Hashtag, a popular Twitter term.

Now Babycenter.com has released its annual Baby Names Survey and it shows that Apple-inspired names are among the hottest baby name trends. The following names are increasing in popularity: Mac, Siri, and, well, Apple.

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Gwyneth Paltrow famously named her daughter Apple back in 2004 and the world was shocked by the unusual choice. She told Oprah at the time that she named her daughter after the fruit because "It conjured such a lovely picture for me -- you know, apples are so sweet and they're wholesome and it's biblical -- and I just thought it sounded so lovely and … clean." (Photo:Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Eight years later, there are more little Apples being born. And parents have more reasons to choose the name. According to Babycenter, which is reporting a 15 percent increase in the name Apple for girls, parents "are paying homage to industry leader Apple."

Furthermore, the name Mac for boys has increased by 12 percent. And the name Siri, the name of the Apple company's voice-enabled personal assistant, has climbed 5 percent.

By the way, the most popular boy name for the eighth year in a row is Aiden and the most popular girl name for the third year in a row is Sophia.

Read Babycenter's Top 100 Baby Names of 2012.

What do you think of these Apple-inspired names? Would you choose one for your child?

Baby laughs at 'fiscal cliff'

Posted by Kristi Palma November 30, 2012 10:07 AM

For many, the much-talked-about fiscal cliff is no laughing matter. That's because we'll be paying more taxes if we go over it.

But 5-month-old Mason thinks it's hilarious. Check out his reaction to the term.

Has your baby ever laughed over something surprising to you? Share it with us!

Third accuser files lawsuit against Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash

Posted by Kristi Palma November 28, 2012 11:40 AM

Miami lawyer Jeff Herman has announced that a third man has filed a lawsuit against Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, accusing him of sexual assault.

Herman refers to the third accuser as John Doe and said he was 16 years old when Clash allegedly sexually assaulted him.

John Doe documented his experiences in an unpublished book he wrote in 2009. A chapter of that book, according to his lawyer, is called "Tickled My Heart" and John Doe called Clash "Mr. Tickler" in it.

Sheldon Stephens, now 23, was the original accuser earlier this month, claiming he had an inappropriate relationship with Clash when he was 16 and Clash was 45. He then recanted his story and said Clash paid him $125,000 to do so.

Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" last week after a second accuser, 24-year-old Cecil Singleton, came forward saying he had an underage sexual relationship with Clash when he was 15. Herman is also Singleton's lawyer.

Clash was the voice of Elmo for 28 years. His statement, upon resigning, was "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."

Clash's lawyer, Michael Berger, said in a statement: "The cases and Mr. Clash’s reputation will be defended vigorously."

Meet author/illustrator Marit Menzin, Winchester, Dec. 2

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 28, 2012 11:39 AM

Song for Papa Crow cover.jpgJoin local author/illustrator Marit Menzin for a presentation of her new book, "Song for Papa Crow," this weekend at Book Ends in Winchester. Little Crow loves to sing, and Papa Crow loves his song. But when Little Crow shares his crow songs with the other birds at the big old tree, they laugh and scatter. Maybe Mockingbird can teach him to sing songs with the finches, flycatchers, and cardinals and help him make some friends. But Little Crow should be careful what he wishes for... Using Mockingbird's tip, Little Crow quickly becomes the most popular bird on the block. But, in a moment of danger, he learns that singing someone else's song can have terrible consequences and that his own voice and his father's love is of the greatest value. Paired with colorful collage illustrations, this inspirational story is complemented by fun facts about North American birds and their sounds. The author will read her book and be available to sign copies. Sun., Dec. 2, 1 p.m. All ages. Free. Book Ends, 559 Main St., Winchester. www.bookendswinchester.com

Baby Hashtag: What do you think of the name?

Posted by Kristi Palma November 27, 2012 11:41 AM

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(c)iStockphoto.com

Celebrities do it all the time -- choose unique names for their kids.

Who could forget when Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple? Or when Jason Lee named his son Pilot Inspektor? Or, most recently, when Uma Thurman named her daughter Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson.

But regular folks are choosing names other than Michael and Jennifer, too.

Take, for example, the parents who named their baby girl Hashtag this past weekend (not pictured above).

Ahh, a baby of the times for sure. Is she destined for Twitter greatness?

What do you think of the name Hashtag? Would you name your child after the Twitter term?

Read more at mashable.com.

Kids' injuries in bounce houses soaring: Do you think young kids should use them?

Posted by Kristi Palma November 26, 2012 01:20 PM

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AP Photo/LM Otero, File

Does your child love bounce houses?

According to a study published online today, more kids are getting injured in them.

The study, published in Pediatrics, says the number of kids age 17 and under who landed in the ER for bounce house-related injuries has increased from fewer than 1,000 in 1995 to nearly 11,000 in 2010. That's a 15-fold increase. And kids age 5 and under made up more than one-third of those injured.

The study was conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends children under age 6 do not use full-size trampolines. And The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended against using trampolines at home. Since trampoline injuries are similar to bounce house injuries (broken bones, sprains, cuts and concussions), the authors of the study want policymakers to consider whether bounce houses should have similar recommendations, reports the AP.

What do you think? Should kids under the age of 6 be allowed inside bounce houses?

'Nano' exhibit opening celebration, Acton, Dec. 7

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 21, 2012 09:05 AM

nanoexhibit.jpgImagine and discover an entire world -- that you can't see. The Discovery Museums in Acton will be opening a new exhibit, "Nano," based on the science of nanoscale science, technology and engineering. What happens when things get smaller? Find out in the hands-on, interactive exhibits that invite exploration of nano phenomena and real world applications and implications. At the "Small, Smaller Nano" exhibit, you can play with magnets to explore how materials behave differently at different sizes. At the "Build a Giant Carbon Nanotube" exhibit you can use foam construction pieces to make a large model of a tiny structure called a carbon nanotube. "Where Can You Find Nano?" lets you listen, look, and touch to discover nano all around you. At "Balance our Nano Future," a variety of blocks represent the challenge of trying to create a stable nano world -- can you balance all the blocks on the tippy table? Throughout the Nano exhibit, interactive panels provide information on tiny solutions for big problems, exciting technologies inspired by nature, and different perspectives on nanotechnology. You can also discover nano gold, make a DNA necklace, change the color of a butterfly's wings, play "I Spy Nano" and more. There will be snacks, nano souvenirs to take home and a raffle drawing. The museums will celebrate the opening of Nano during their "First Friday Nights Free!" event on Friday, December 7, from 4:30 to 8:30pm with free admission to both the Children’s Discovery Museum and Science Discovery Museum. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. www.discoverymuseums.org

Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigns

Posted by Kristi Palma November 20, 2012 11:29 AM

Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, has resigned in the wake of allegations that he had inappropriate sexual relationships.

TMZ broke the story Tuesday about a second allegation against Clash, reporting that Cecil Singleton is suing Clash for having a sexual relationship with him as an underage boy when Singleton was 15 and Clash was 32.

Clash's first accuser, now 23, said last week that he had a sexual relationship with Clash as a 16-year-old boy when Clash was 45, and Clash then took a leave of absence. The next day the accuser recanted his story, saying the relationship actually happened when he was a legal adult. Sesame Workshop said it was pleased the matter was closed.

This week, Clash's first accuser said Clash gave him $125,000 to recant his story.

Today Clash resigned, releasing the following statement:

I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart. I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.

Sesame Workshop released this statement:

Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us wants, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.

Family activities at the MFA, Boston, ongoing

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 20, 2012 10:50 AM

Now that the weather's getting downright chilly, we're all looking for indoor activities to engage and inspire our kids -- and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a number of ways to do just that. First, on any day you visit you can stop by the Sharf Visitor Center to check out a family activity tote bag filled with a variety of self-guided gallery activities, a sketchpad, and colored pencils to enhance your visit to the MFA. (Recommended for families with children ages 4 and up.) On Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., you can visit the Family Art Cart and discover the MFA with fun (and educational) activities designed for children ages 4 and up to do with adults in the galleries. Piece together puzzles, learn mythical tales, and uncover ancient Egyptian mysteriea. Choose from the ever-changing array of interactive activities, books and Art Cards. Borrow a tote bag equipped with a sketch-book and colored pencils, and the Cart's staff will point you on your way! Look for the Family Art Cart in the Shapiro Family Courtyard. Finally, why not try your hand at creating your own masterpieces, with the "Drawing in the Galleries" program? On Wednesdays, from 6-9 p.m., artists of all ages can sketch from live models and from objects in the MFA collections. A facilitator provides insights on drawing technique and the artist-model relationship as it informs the creation of artwork. Drawing materials are provided to encourage spontaneous participation. All listed programs are free with museum admission: adults, $25; seniors, $23; students (18+), $23; six and under, and members, free. Ages 7-17, free on weekdays after 3 p.m., on weekends, and on Boston public school holidays, otherwise admission for this age group is $10. The Museum is open 7 days a week: Mon. & Tues., 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.; Wed. - Fri., 10 a.m. - 9:45 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. The Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. www.mfa.org

Can babies tell good from bad?

Posted by Kristi Palma November 20, 2012 08:39 AM

Can babies tell good from bad?

Using puppets, researchers at Yale University's baby lab modeled a good behavior and a bad behavior and then watched to see which puppet a 5-month old baby would reach for at the end. Most babies reached for the puppet that exhibited good behavior.

Researchers also repeated the experiment with babies as young as 3 months old and found that the babies, though they couldn't yet reach, kept their eyes on the good guy for longer.

Do you think babies can tell good from bad?

Report: Accuser said Kevin Clash paid him $125K to recant

Posted by Kristi Palma November 19, 2012 08:55 AM

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Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Files

Kevin Clash and Elmo at the 2010 Peabody Award ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Kevin Clash's accuser wants to undo a $125,000 settlement to recant his claim, reports TMZ.com.

Clash, the puppeteer behind the beloved children's character Elmo, paid his accuser, Sheldon Stephens, $125,000 to recant a claim that the pair had a sexual relationship when Stephens was 16 and Clash was 45, reports TMZ.

Stephens accused Clash of the inappropriate relationship last week and then recanted his story.

When Stephens recanted, he said, through his lawyers, that "his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship."

Now he's changing his story again.

TMZ reports, "We've learned Stephens has met with lawyers in Los Angeles and told them he was pressured into recanting his allegation and insists he's telling the truth when he says he had sex with Clash when he was 16."

Stephens, 23, reportedly wants to give the money back to restore his name.

As of this report, there is no comment from Clash or Sesame Workshop.

Boston Common Frog Pond events, Nov. 25 & 29, Boston

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 19, 2012 08:31 AM

'Tis the season -- for ice skating! The weather's finally gotten cold enough for the much-anticipated seasonal opening of Boston Common's Frog Pond, and with two spectacular events to choose from, now's the time to sharpen your skates. First, join in the fun at the "Winter Season Kick-Off Celebration" on Sunday, Nov. 25. The Skating Club of Boston will be there, along with Mix 104.1, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and others. You can enter a raffle for prizes, sign up for a 15-minute private lesson (limited availability, during the celebration only), receive skating passes from Boston Moves for Health, and more. A few days after the opening, on Thursday, Nov. 29, another event takes over the Pond on Thursday -- the 71st annual "Tree Lighting Pre-Show Skating Spectacular." Talented members of the Skating Club of Boston take to the ice in an amazing show featuring skating champions, synchronized skating, and theatre on ice performances that will get you in the holiday spirit. After the show, hop over to the tree lighting, where you'll find even more fun and activities. Happy skating! Winter Season Kick-Off Celebration, Sun., Nov. 25, 1-3 p.m. Skating Spectacular show, Thurs., Nov. 30, 5 p.m. All ages. Free. The Boston Common Frog Pond, 84 Beacon St., Boston. www.bostonfrogpond.com

'Parenting Strategies for the 21st Century,' Chestnut Hill, Nov. 28

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 16, 2012 10:36 AM

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American Program Bureau

Do you ever feel like talking with your teenager is just an exercise in frustration? That no matter what you say, it's the wrong thing? That sometimes it seems that your teen just speaks a different language? If you answered "yes" to any of these, then this presentation is perfect for you. Head over to Beaver Country Day School to hear renowned psychologist and parenting expert, Dr. Anthony Wolf, speak about his most popular topic: teenagers, and how to deal with them. His presentation will address some of the biggest issues facing parents today, including why all teenagers develop a temporary allergy to their parents; issues of teen growth and development including puberty, sex, bullycide, and peer pressure with alcohol and drugs; teen phrases, and why teens continually use certain expressions, such as "I hate you" and "it’s not fair," and how to decode the true meaning of these messages; the importance of saying "no" and following rules of disengagement with teens, why ending the conversation and "shutting up" is a win-win situation for both parent and child; youth culture, and why it is crucial to be well educated about the impact video games and other electronic devices have had on learning styles (positive and negative), and the role of social networking in stemming the loneliness inherent during the teen years; and more. Dr. Wolf is the author of five books on parenting, and appears frequently on television as well as being quoted in national magazines on issues of parenting. Wed. Nov. 28, 7 p.m. Free. RSVP is required. www.eventbrite.com/event/1338993967/es2/?rank=1 "Parenting Strategies for the 21st Century," Beaver Country Day School, 791 Hammond St., Chestnut Hill.

Massachusetts baby wins $10,000 in Gerber photo contest

Posted by Kristi Palma November 15, 2012 10:15 AM

Justin Ridzon, 9 months, of Lowell, did his first media interview this week.

When his dad handed him the phone to talk to us here at Boston.com Moms, he grabbed at it and said "Eh! Eh!"

"He's smiling at me," said his dad, Richard.

We expected nothing less of a baby who was one of just six winners nationwide in a Gerber photo contest.

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The Ridzons entered this photo of Justin into The Gerber Generation Photo Search 2012 contest. The contest drew more than 308,000 photos.

A panel of judges picked the grand prize winner, Mary Jane Montoya from California. She won $50,000 and will appear in a nationwide Gerber ad.

Then the nation voted on Facebook for the six "Milestone Prize Winners." The prize-winning photo of Justin that Facebook fans loved so much was taken in his crib at his home in Lowell. His parents, Richard and Vanna, made him smile by "making spooky faces," his dad said with a laugh.

Justin won in the category of "supported sitter." He won $10,000.

The family's reaction?

"We are very, you know, surprised and excited," said Richard. "It's not expected that something like that can happen to you."

What will the family do with the money?

"We intend to keep it for his school," he said.

And what's this father's advice for taking an award-winning photo of your baby?

"You need to have a sense of patience," said Richard, adding, "Try to capture the moment, you know, the moment of joy."

Gerber photo

Bank of America's Free Museum Admission, Dec. 1-2

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 15, 2012 09:29 AM

This is the last opportunity for Bank of America customers to take advantage of the Museums on Us program. Held during the first weekend of every month, cardholders can gain general admission to area museums -- just for being a customer. Participating museums include the Museum of Fine Art Boston, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, the American Textile History Museum, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Worcester Art Museum. All you need is a photo ID and your Bank of America card! Museum hours vary; check websites for details. Sat., Dec. 1 - Sun., Dec. 2. www.museums.bankofamerica.com

'Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature,' Concord, Nov. 21 - Jan. 1

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 14, 2012 09:49 AM

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Handout

The Garden Club of Concord chose "Willow and the Snow Day Dance," by Denise Brenner-Nelson, illustrated by Cyd Moore, for its 2011 Family Trees decorating.

There's nothing like the sight of dozens of gorgeously decorated trees to get you into the holiday spirit -- and here's a festival of trees with a unique twist that's perfect for families. The Concord Museum is hosting it's 17th annual "Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature" from Nov. 21 through Jan. 1. During this time, the museum’s galleries will be filled with 36 fanciful trees of all shapes and sizes, decorated with original ornaments inspired by acclaimed children’s storybooks and contemporary picture book favorites. Each tree serves as a canvas for the artistic creations of a dedicated team of volunteer decorators. Inspired by the storyline, the illustrations, the characters or setting of a particular book, the decorators let their imaginations take flight, much to the delight of visitors of all ages from all over New England. Selections for this year include: "Dear Mother, Dear Daughter: Poems for Young People" by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Gil Ashby; "When We Were Very Young," by A.A. Milne; "The Story Tree: Tales to Read Aloud" by Hugh Lupton, illustrated by Sophie Fatus; "Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise," written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola; "A Mountain of Mittens by Lynn Plourde," illustrated by Mitch Vane; and many other favorites. And, if you visit over Thanksgiving weekend, you can get crafty with your family with special projects related to this year’s books. Pick your favorite bear from "The Teddy Bear’s Picnic" by Jimmy Kennedy and create a tiny teddy out of clay or cut-out and decorate a felt mitten inspired by Lynn Plourde’s "A Mountain of Mittens." Read the poetry books featured in the "Family Trees" exhibit this year, then work as a family to write some "poet-tree" on an autumn leaf to share with others! Wed., Nov. 21 - Jan. 1, 2013. All ages. Adults, $15; seniors, $10; ages 4-18, $6; under 4 and members, free. Family Trees craft activities, Fri., Nov. 23 & Sat., Nov. 24, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free with Family Trees admission. The Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. www.concordmuseum.org

Man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of inappropriate relationship recants his claim

Posted by Kristi Palma November 14, 2012 07:48 AM

The man who accused Kevin Clash, the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo, of having a sexual relationship with him when he was a teen has recanted his story.

He released a statement through his law firm, Andreozzi & Associates, on Tuesday saying that he "wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship." The statement added, "He will have no further comment on the matter."

Clash took a leave of absence from the show after the man accused him of having an inappropriate relationship with him when Clash was 45 and he was 16.

"I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest," Clash told People.com in a statement through his rep. "I will not discuss it further."

Sesame Workshop responded with this statement: "We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode."

Drop-in art activities, Salem, Nov. 18

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 13, 2012 08:40 AM

There's still plenty fun to be had in Salem even though Halloween is over! Among the other local attractions, you should want to head over to the Peabody Essex Museum this Sunday for an afternoon of art exploration. Each weekend, the museum hosts drop-in activities of all kinds for the entire family. You can fold an origami penguin, make finger puppets, and even meet a live wolf. Or pick up one of the family-friendly "Gallery Discovery Kits" and search the museum for animals or explore life at sea. This Sunday, from 2-3 p.m., you can sign up for a special seasonal activity of creating gourd and pinecone centerpieces that will add some homemade flair to your holiday table this year. Also this Sunday during the regular drop-in hours from 1-3 p.m. is an activity inspired by the current exhibit all about hats -- decorate your own hatbox. There are endless ways to enjoy the museum -- together. Sun., Nov. 18, 1-3 p.m. Adults, $15; seniors, $13; students, $11; ages 16 and under, and Salem residents, free. Registration required by Nov. 15 for the gourd and pinecone activity. Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, Salem. www.pem.org

Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash accused of inappropriate relationship

Posted by Kristi Palma November 12, 2012 11:04 AM

Elmo has been silenced. At least for now.

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind "Sesame Street's" Elmo since 1985, is being accused of having a relationship with a 16-year-old boy and has taken a leave of absence from the show.

Here is what Sesame Workshop has written on its blog:

"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined."

The accuser, now 23, says the relationship happened when he was 16 and Clash was 45.

Clash told TMZ he did have a relationship with the young man, but only after that young man was an adult.

What will happen to Elmo?

Writes Sesame Workshop, "Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of "Sesame Street" to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years."

What do you think of these claims?

Here is Clash in the 2011 documentary, "Being Elmo:"

'Mayor's Half-Price Holiday Special,' various locations, through Jan.1

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 9, 2012 09:44 AM

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See the Blue Man Group and many others performers this holiday season for half the price!

Photo courtesy of Blue Man Group


It's the most wonderful time of the year! Take advantage of Mayor Menino's 9th annual Holiday Special: half-price off tickets for theatre, dance and musical performances, as well as discounts to area restaurants. Find half-price seats to holiday blockbusters such as Boston Ballet's "The Nutcracker" and Boston Holiday Pops, as well as fantastic shows presented all over the region, from the just-opening Paramount Theatre in Boston's Downtown Crossing to Merrimack Repertory Theatre (Lowell), Lexington Symphony, Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts (Worcester), and the newly renovated North Shore Music Theatre, and holiday traditions like the Boston Baroque's Messiah and the concerts of the Boston Gay Men's Chorus and the Handel and Haydn Society. On the "Mayor's Special" website, you can download a free restaurant voucher for $10 off when you spend $40 at participating restaurants, as well as information on free and low-cost festivities, and special offers to help you shop, eat, stay and even park for less. The site also provides a complete guide to beloved Boston holiday traditions, such as the tree lightings, skating on the Frog Pond, and the Macy's "Enchanted Trolley Tour," plus deals such as 15 percent off on the GoBoston Card. This deal is the perfect way for you and your family to add a little extra sparkle to the holiday season! Ongoing, through Jan. 1, 2013. Holiday show tickets move quickly, and inventory changes daily. Check back on the site frequently or sign up for emails that give you updates on what is available online. www.mayorsholidayspecial.com


Breastfeeding baby doll: What do you think?

Posted by Kristi Palma November 8, 2012 03:05 PM

There's a new type of baby doll called The Breast Milk Baby. And American retailers are wary of her.

The breastfeeding doll is having a hard time getting onto mainstream retail shelves in America due to the fact that stores want to avoid possible controversy, said the doll maker, Berjuan Toys, a family-owned, 40-year-old doll maker based in Spain, told the Associated Press.

Here's how the doll works: Children wear a special top with sensors placed at petal appliques at the nipples. When the doll makes contact with the sensors, suckling sounds are triggered. The doll also burps and cries.

The Breast Milk Baby comes in eight varieties, with different skin tones and facial features. They cost $89, but are listed for 50 percent off on the company website in time for the holidays.

Read more about the baby doll in this Associated Press report.

What do you think of the doll? Would you buy it for your child?


'Potty Palooza,' Brookline, Nov. 13

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 8, 2012 11:28 AM

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iStockphoto.com

Few things cause new parents as much anxiety, fear and excitement as diapers and potty training do. If you're looking for a "poopendous" adventure into all things relating to your little one's...um...business, head over to "Potty Palooza" at Pinwheel Books in Brookline next Tuesday. The event features a number of experts offering advice and tips -- from the latest diapering techniques to the truth on why cloth diapers aren't as icky as they seem. Also, you'll hear from scientists on the topic of poop -- why it's important to discuss it with your kids, and how you can use that discussion to explore the science of digestion. Naturally, you'll also get fantastic advice on potty training, giveaways, and a ton of potty-training products to check out (including a new, predictably noisy, animated iPad app called "All About Poop"). There will be a kids' corner with babysitting to keep your little ones occupied while you explore, and light refreshments will be served. Poop-tastic! Tues., Nov. 13, 10:45 a.m. - noon. Free. Space is limited; registration required. Pinwheel Books, 1622 Beacon St., Brookline. www.pottypalooza.eventbrite.com

'The Day it Snowed Tortillas,' Brookline, Nov. 15-18

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 7, 2012 09:22 AM

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Photo courtesy of the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre

Imagine that you have the chance to become rich beyond your wildest dreams, if only you can keep a secret. Now, imagine that you're married to the biggest blabbermouth south of the border. What's a wife to do? In this hilarious production by the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre, "The Day it Snowed Tortillas," performed at the Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brooklin, creative problem-solving is the key ingredient that helps a poor couple outwit a gang of bullies. The woodcutter and his wife do their best to keep the secret that will lead to their fortune, but the husband just can't keep his mouth closed. "We have to keep this a secret!" the wife tells him. "Absolutely!" says her husband. "I won't tell anyone...except my brother...and my best friend...and my mother...and..." "Enough!" says his wife. She cooks up an ingenious plan to divert any unwanted attention. All she has to do is make it snow...in July...in Mexico! The recipe for this hilarious folktale includes fantastic puppets, hysterically funny action, marvelous music, and one ridiculous chicken. Thurs., Nov. 15 & Fri., Nov. 16, 10:30 a.m.; Sat., Nov. 17 & Sun., Nov. 18, 1 & 3 p.m. Ages 5 and up. $12; members $8. The Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station St., Brookline. www.puppetshowplace.org

Meet the new Gerber baby

Posted by Kristi Palma November 7, 2012 08:58 AM

Meet the new Gerber baby: A Hispanic baby named Mary Jane Montoya from California.

The eight-month-old baby beat out 300,000 other babies on Facebook to become the new face of the brand in 2013. She will be featured in a nationwide Gerber ad.

Judges chose the baby based on "visual appeal, expressiveness, and consistency with Gerber's heritage." Montoya also represents the food brand's mission to be more reflective of what America looks like, according to the Buzz 60 video above.

Her parents, Billy and Sara Montoya, say they entered her at the last minute. The proud parents won $50,000 for her college fund.

So what was the secret to snapping the contest-winning photo?

"It took a little while to get that picture, too, because she would not stop looking at the grass and looking at the birds ... of course we think our baby is adorable and beautiful, but every parent sees that in their child," Sara Montoya told the Today Show.

For those wondering, Mary Jane will not replace the original Gerber baby from 1928, Ann Taylor Cook, who is now 85. The two Gerber babies met each other on the set of the Today Show.

What do you think of Gerber's choice?


'ThinkSpace' opening celebration, Providence, Nov. 10-12

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 6, 2012 11:10 AM

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Visitors at the Providence Children's Museum solving the soma cube puzzle in the new ThinkSpace exhibit.

Photo courtesy of Providence Children's Museum

An exciting new exhibit, "ThinkSpace," is opening at the Providence Children's Museum this weekend, devoted entirely to the exploration of spatial thinking. Spatial thinking is part of everyday life; we think spatially all the time -- when tying shoes, reading maps, finding the way to the store, packing a suitcase, doing jigsaw puzzles, climbing rocks and cutting sandwiches in half. Spatial thinkers are architects designing buildings, pilots flying planes, doctors reading x-rays, plumbers installing pipes, bakers decorating cakes, geologists studying fossils and artists painting landscapes. Spatial thinking is a powerful problem-solving tool and a key to kids' interest and success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. "ThinkSpace" will get visitors thinking spatially with plenty of fun-filled opportunities for interactive play and exploration: you can navigate mystery maze boxes using the senses to guide a ball through hidden twists and turns, and map the path it traveled; create intricate kaleidoscopic designs by layering, ordering and rotating colorful cutout shapes in countless combinations; experiment with shadows and scale, transforming 3-D objects into 2-D representations and creating imaginative shadow scenes; solve the soma cube, a giant 3-D puzzle, by fitting together seven pieces to form a cube; construct domino chain reactions, negotiating spacing and alignment to topple series of spirals and zigzags; explore a nook stocked with books about shape, navigation, and visual and spatial challenges. Opening celebration weekend, Nov. 10 - Nov. 12, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Free with $9 museum admission. Providence Children's Museum, 100 South Street, Providence, RI. www.childrenmuseum.org

'Veteran's Day Family Fun Weekend,' Boston, Nov. 10-12

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 5, 2012 09:19 AM

USS Constitution logo.jpgWhat better place to celebrate and honor our veterans this year than at the USS Constitution Museum? During your visit, you'll be able to write letters to our troops for the holidays, decide whether you would sign on board USS Constitution during the War of 1812, and make a paper officer's hat to take home. While you're there, you can experience what life was like for our early naval forces in the hands-on, interactive exhibits. On November 11th, silhouette artist Carol Lebeaux will be on hand to cut portrait silhouettes similar to those sailors may have brought aboard ship to remember their loved ones by. These make great holiday gifts! She can cut from live subjects or from profile photographs of people or pets. Sittings last less than 5 minutes and you can take home your completed artwork in less than twenty minutes. Sat., Nov. 10 - Mon., Nov. 12, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. All ages. The Museum has a suggested donation of $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $2 for children; however, any amount is greatly appreciated. Registration suggested for silhouettes; call 617-426-1812. Walk-in appointments will be provided as available. Each silhouette is $33, duplicate cuts are available for $12 or free for Museum members. USS Constitution Museum, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston.www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org

Photo courtesy of USS Constitution Museum

Parents fighting judge over daughter's pregnancy: What do you think?

Posted by Kristi Palma November 5, 2012 08:25 AM

Nevada parents are fighting for their grandchild's life.

They are trying to stop a judge from holding hearings that could result in the termination of their mentally disabled daughter's pregnancy, reports the Associated Press.

Here is why.

The parents say they have the right to make their daughter's health care decisions as her legal guardians, that they are aware of the risks, and they want to see the baby carried to term. Furthermore, they say there are six couples who have expressed interest in adopting the baby.

Two medical experts testified the pregnancy is risky because the woman, who is 32 years old but has the mental capacity of a six year old, has epilepsy and is on medication.

What do you think? Should the parents have the final say as to whether the pregnancy should continue?

'Turtles, Snakes & More,' Concord, Nov. 12

Posted by Jen Clark Estes November 2, 2012 09:15 AM

snake_naturalist event.png

Photo courtesy of Barefoot Books Studio

Calling all budding naturalists! Here's a chance for you to learn about and celebrate the wonders and mysteries of reptiles native to Massachusetts. Have you ever seen a corn snake and wondered how it got its name? Would you like to see two real Blanding turtles? (And also find out just what a Blanding turtle is?) During this special program at Barefoot Books in Concord, you can find out the answers to these questions and more, including all about the adaptations of these creatures who call our state their home. You can also sing a reptile song and take a look at some real turtle shells. The event ends with a fun turtle-inspired craft to take home. The program will be led by Stephen DeFlorio, teacher/naturalist at Apple Valley Montessori School in Sudbury. Mr. DeFlorio previously worked as a naturalist and education coordinator for Mass Audubon Society, and has been involved in turtle nesting surveys in Concord for many years. This event is sponsored by Apple Valley Montessori School in Sudbury. Pre-registration is appreciated, but drop-ins are welcome! Mon., Nov. 12, 10:30 a.m. - noon. All ages. Free. Barefoot Books, 89 Thoreau St., Concord. www.barefootbooks.com

Video of 4-year-old crying over presidential election goes viral: Do your children have election fatigue?

Posted by Kristi Palma November 1, 2012 12:27 PM



A 4-year-old little girl from Colorado is fed up with the presidential election. She's so sick of it, she burst into tears.

"I’m tired," Abigael Evans said in a video recorded by her mother. "I’m tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney."

Tears stream down Abigael's face as she expresses her frustration with the election to her mother. Her mother comforts her by saying the election will soon be over.

The video, posted on YouTube, went viral today.

Do your children have election fatigue too?

Massachusetts cities and towns postpone trick-or-treat

Posted by Kristi Palma November 1, 2012 10:21 AM

leominsterblog.jpg

submitted by a parent in Leominster

Isabella and Dylan live in Leominster, which has postponed trick-or-treat until Saturday.

Not all kids in Massachusetts trick-or-treated Wednesday night.

Hurricane Sandy caused some cities and towns to postpone Halloween until this weekend.

As Gregg McBride, chairman of the Norwell Board of Selectmen, told The Boston Globe, "Given the predictions of significant loss of power, wires down, and trees and limbs down, the board did not think it prudent to be having children trick-or-treating."

Here is a list of cities and towns where kids will trick-or-treat this weekend, along with times provided by city and town officials:

Ashby: Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.
Fitchburg: Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30
Holyoke: Saturday (no set time)
Leominster: Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Methuen: Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Norwell: Saturday (no set time)
North Andover: Saturday 5 to 7 p.m.
Sudbury: Friday

Share photos of your children in costume

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Welcome to Parent Buzz, where you can read about and discuss the hot parenting issues of the day, find family-friendly events in Boston and beyond, and get parenting tidbits and tips.

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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.
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