20 Years And Counting On Sheff v. O’Neill And Magnet Schools

8 Jan

B6q56H0CUAAyghrMy first front page story ever was on Sheff v. O’Neill. It was the spring of 1995 in the Conard High school newspaper ‘The Pow Wow.’

Twenty years later, the region still hasn’t figured out how to best help every kid in Hartford.

CREC has great schools. We’ve optimistically applied to the RSCO lottery the past three years, with no luck, even though we bought our suburban home partially because of the schools. I totally believe in and fully support the Wethersfield Public School my son goes to.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas’ article on ctmirror.com sheds more light on where magnet schools are being built — and how much construction costs.

Child Safety Seat Inspections In Tolland

8 Jan

seatThe Tolland Fire Department will hold a free child safety seat inspection Sunday, January 11 from noon to 2 p.m. at the fire station located at the corner of Rhodes Road and Merrow Road.

More information:  TFD News Release 150107

Avery Lynn Canahuati Taught Me About SMA

8 May

I was scrolling through tweets on my phone a few weeks ago when I came across the blog setup by the father of Avery Lynn Canahuati — http://www.averycan.blogspot.com/.

I, like tens-of-thousands of folks, entered the term ‘spinal muscular atrophy’ into Google to learn about the prognosis.  ‘Spinal Muscular Atrophy’ was one of the top search terms in Google a few weeks ago.

Avery died last week, fairly unexpectedly at the age of six-months.

If we all have a purpose in life, it’s clear Avery’s was to raise awareness of SMA and inspire us to appreciate our own lives and the health of our children.

God bless Avery and her family. My family grieves with them.

Connecticut Childern’s Medical Center And Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield In Contract Talks

18 Apr

I work in the media, but I think the press is way underplaying the CCMC and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield contract dispute.

A grandmother at Reid’s playgroup asked me about it Monday. Her family is faced with the possibility of putting off a scheduled surgery in the coming weeks while the hospital and the insurance company work to hopefully settle their dispute.

My friend and former colleague Arielle Levin Becker is doing an awesome job covering the dispute for the CT Mirror  Read her latest story: Anthem, Connecticut Children’s talking, but no deal yet

Is the dispute impacting your family? Let me know. If you can talk to the Courant please message my friend and current colleague Matt Sturdevant — msturdevant @ courant.com/ @CTInsuranceNews.

Follow Arielle on Twitter @ariellelb

At Home Moms vs. Working Moms

22 Mar

As a dad, I don’t get the disconnect between working moms and at home moms. Can I call it a rivalry?

ConnecticutWorkingMoms is one of the best parenting blogs in Connecticut.

The MOMS Club, with chapters in Enfield, Manchester/East Hartford, Middletown and Wethersfield, says on its web site: “We are a support group designed just for you, the at-home mother of today!”

When my wife was home after having Reid, suffering from postpartum depression, I searched the web for a group of moms she could join in town. The Wethersfield MOMS Club came up. But she couldn’t join. She would return to work after a 16-week maternity leave.

I totally get that at home moms can have challenges with socializing with adults and how hectic their lives are.

You only have to read a ‘Day In The Life’ feature on ConnecticutWorkingMoms to appreciate how difficult it is for moms to juggle a job outside the home, child care and family life.

Truth is, my wife would love to be an at home mom. From the time we started dating in our teens, she said she’d like to not have a job outside the home when our children were  young.

In our late 20s, I supported her taking three years off from work to go to grad school full-time.

I talked to our landlord about buying the duplex in Old Wethersfield that we lived in and continuing to live upstairs while renting out the first floor apartment.  Then he rented to some less than desirable neighbors who trashed the place.  So we decided not to buy it, and bought our house.

After we found out we both carried the CF gene, we accepted we’d be spending tens-of-thousands on IVF to try and have a second child.

For better or worse, grad school paid off. My wife makes a lot more money than I do.

If life played out differently, my wife would be an at home mom. I have some guilt that I can’t see a way to make that happen for our family.

Now that we are in the toddler stage, I’d be happy being a stay at home dad — I didn’t love the infant stage. My best friend was an at home dad when his kids were younger.

We all have our story about why we do or do not work outside the home. Maybe you can help me understand the divide between working moms and at home moms. More importantly, maybe we all can help bridge that gap.


Suit Follows Suspension For 5-Year-Old Swearing

17 Mar

A father in Rogers, Ark. is suing his school district and the school principal after his 5-year-old son was suspended for dropping “The F-Bomb” at school.

Your kid being “the kid” who teaches his schoolmates some new colorful language is every parent’s fear.

Still, the suspension, and mark on the student’s permanent record, seems excessive. Suing the principal and the school district over a one-day suspension also seems equally excessive.

Certainly, threats and bullying should not be tolerated even in young children. But swearing isn’t necessarily a threat.

I also hope the father spoke to school officials and the principal to share his concerns before filing a suit.

The idea of a 5-year-old really even having a permanent record seems pretty silly. Are colleges really going to be looking at his transcript from kindergarten?

As parents, we need to hold other parents and school officials accountable for things that really matter. But we also need to cut each other some slack when young children show poor judgement.

Neither school officials or the boy’s father seem to be setting the best example in exercising reasoned judgment. The suspension and the lawsuit both are examples of the punishment not fitting the crime.

What do you think of the story?

Huggies ‘Dad Test’ Ad

16 Mar

After some social media push back, Huggies pulled it’s ‘Dad Test’ ad campaign.

I’m glad.

One ad starts out: “To prove Huggies diapers can handle anything, we put them to the ultimate test: Dads, alone with their babies, at nap time, after a very full bottle.”

I’m not sure I know any dad of babies or small children who is not comfortable changing a diaper. I’ve been alone with Reid at nap time literally over a 100 times in the last 2-and-a-half years. It’s not a big deal.

Chris Routly took up a petition against Huggies and Kimblery Clark on his dad blog, “The Daddy Doctrines” and got over 1000 signatures asking Huggies to stop running the ads.

Honestly, the ads really don’t upset me personally. But the public outcry, and Huggies’ response to pull the ads, does prove to me how quickly media and pop culture’s portrayal of dads has changed.

The dumb, uninvolved dad humor of “Everybody Loves Raymond” — and copy-cat shows like “Yes Dear” — do kind of get me upset. Unlike the fathers on those shows, I would much rather spend time with my family than play golf or hang out with my buddies.

There seems to be a couple gags in every episode where Ray whines to Debra about spending time with his family. Ray and Debra’s relationship is very much like a child and a mother who takes care of him, with a joke peppered in about how Ray wants sex.

‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ went off the air in 2005.  Now in 2012, we are petitioning to get ads taken off a company’s Facebook page.

Diapers aren’t the only thing being changed by dads in pop culture.

What do you think of the Huggies ads and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ type sitcoms?

More reading:

Follow @jimhigley and @ChrisRoutly on Twitter

Okay, and here’s a dad changing a diaper Huggies ad that I do find pretty funny.