“Mary Poppins.” See everyone’s favorite nanny come to life. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $29-$79. Zach Theatre’s Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org.
Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Learn about the Alamo, 9 a.m. Saturday. $4.50. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.
BookPeople story time with Angela Dominguez, who reads “Marta! Big and Small,” 11:30 a.m. Saturday. 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Saturday Family Movie: “Ghostbusters.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Windsor Park Branch.
Saturday and Monday
Thinkery. Little Builders! for kids 12 to 24 months. 9:45 a.m. Saturday and Monday; for kids 24 to 36 months, 10:45 a.m. Saturday and Monday, $20 one child and adult. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.
Saturday and Sunday
Thinkery.Suminagashi Fabrics for kids 4 and older. Create Japanese marbled fabric. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 and 3:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8 child, $8 adult. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.
Neill-Cochran House Museum. Sunday Funday. “Selfies on Paper.” Learn early photography techniques and make a pinhole camera. 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Free. Neill-Cochran House, 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org.
BookPeopleJennifer Rustgi and Ashley White read “A Moon of My Own,” 2 p.m. Sunday. 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.
Girl Scout Phoebe Anderson contacted me about a really cool project she’s doing for her Gold Award. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can get and involves a project that can be carried on well after the girl is out of high school. Phoebe has been working with the Travis County Master Gardeners to identify the various native and low-water-use plants and trees on the Austin Zoo’s property. The zoo will be installing markers so visitors can see what’s growing there and be inspired in their own home gardens.
Phoebe will be highlighting her project at Austin Zoo Conservation Day, which will celebrate the zoo’s 26th anniversary with family friendly activities and demonstrations on a conservation theme from Texas Parks and Wildlife, Austin Astronomical Society, Travis Audubon, The Natural Gardener, TreeFolks, Travis County Master Gardeners, Horned Lizard Conservation Society, Millberg Farms, Two Hives Honey, Austin EcoNetwork, Texas Master Naturalists, 4-H Central and Girl Scouts. The first 200 visitors to Conservation Day will receive a free packet of native/heritage flower or vegetable plant seeds from Seed Savers and Native American Seed.
Thinkery Baby Bloomers for ages birth to 3. Learn about University of Texas, 9 a.m. Saturday with Heartsong Music; $4.50. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.
BookPeople story times. Classic Picture Books, 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble story times: 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: Summer Reading Triathlon.
Saturday Movie Matinee: “Shaun the Sheep.” 2 p.m. Saturday, University Hills Branch.
Thinkery. “Simple Stitches.” For ages 4-7. Create a stuffed animal. 12:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8 per person. “Polymer Wearables.” For ages 8 and older. 2:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8 per person. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.
Ballet Austin’s Come Dance. The annual free day of dance has returned for all dance levels, as a way for Austin’s dance and fitness center to show that dance is for everyone. 1 p.m. Sunday. Ballet Austin’s Butler Dance & Fitness Center, 501 W. Third St. 512-501-8704, balletaustin.org/dance-fitness-/come-dance.
Back to Hogwarts! Celebrate the new book and the classics as well. Noon Sunday, Faulk Central Library.
For 22 years, parents of newborns have been given the Back to Sleep campaign information. They have been told to put babies to sleep on their backs, in a proper sleeping location devoid of any suffocation or strangulation hazards.
The 160 children were all healthy newborns in a fairly affluent area of Pennsylvania. 85 percent of their parents were college educated. Their parents agreed to be videotaped and knew when the taping was happening.
Yet, when the babies were 1 months old, 21 percent were placed on nonrecommended sleeping surfaces such as a car seat or in a baby swing or with their parents in bed or on a couch; 14 percent were placed in a position other then on their backs; 91 percent had loose or nonapproved items by their sleeping surface such as loose bedding, bumper pads, pillows, stuffed animals and sleep positioners.
At 3 months old, 10 percent were on nonrecommended sleeping surfaces, 18 percent were not placed on their backs and 87 percent had hazardous items near them.
By 6 months old, 12 percent were on a nonrecommended sleeping surface; 33 percent were not placed on their backs and 93 percent had hazardous items near them.
Even babies who started out on safe sleeping surfaces didn’t end up that way: 28 percent of 1-month-olds moved locations, 18 percent of 3-month-olds and 12 percent of 6-months-old. Most were moved to unsafe locations, particularly in bed with Mom or Dad.
So, what’s happening here? Why would parents, especially when they know they are being videotaped, put a baby to bed unsafely?
It has to be more than just exhaustion, says Dr. Shimona Thakrar, the director of inpatient pediatrics and newborn nursery at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center — Round Rock. She has even seen friends in the medical profession who know better post pictures of their sleeping babies in an unsafe environment.
They buy the cute, frilly bedding and crib bumpers and decorate Baby’s room with it. They worry that Baby will be cold and so they give him a blanket. They think Baby will be lonely at night and so they put a stuffed animal with him.
People think that if they go to Babies “R” Us and find cute crib bedding that it must be safe, she says. “There’s a lot of confusing stuff out there,” she says. Always check the label to see if it is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Even if it is, was it meant to be placed with the baby in bed?
The truth is babies can get tangled up in blankets and crib bumper ties and be strangled or suffocate. They can wedge themselves against crib bumpers and stuffed animals and not be able to turn their heads to be able to breath. And those bed positioners — unless medically approved by a doctor — can suffocate babies as well.
Co-sleeping, of course, brings up advocates for and against it. Thakrar, though, has treated children in the hospital with long-term brain injuries from being oxygen-deprived while sleeping with their parents as infants.
When she sees a mom in the hospital asleep in bed with the baby beside her, she takes that moment to educate the mom. “It’s safe to say there’s no good time to co-sleep,” she says. “Babies need to be protected and be in a safe environment.”
Thakrar is not insensitive to the ease of co-sleeping and the exhaustion on the part of parents. She has a 9-month-old. She used a bedside bassinet to easily access the baby, nurse her and then put her right back into the bassinet so they could both drift off to sleep in their own, safe spaces.
The new study looked at 7,796 mothers and their children who had been enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children from 1991 to 1992. It analyzed data from the Avon study taken from when the mothers were at 18 weeks and 32 weeks of pregnancy and when their child was 5. The questionnaires the mothers were given asked about acetaminophen use at those times. The mothers also answered the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire about their children when their children were 7.
Researchers found that 53 percent of the mothers in the study used acetaminophen at 18 weeks of pregnancy and 42 percent used it at 32 weeks. Of those that did use acetaminophen, their children were at 42 percent more risk for having conduct problems and 31 percent more risk for hyperactivity symptoms. Moms who used acetaminophen at 32 weeks also had children with a 29 percent greater risk of having emotional symptoms and 49 percent total behavioral difficulties.
Researchers also looked at the mother’s use of acetaminophen post-pregnancy and their partner’s use of acetaminophen and found no relation to their child’s behavior problems.
This is not the first study to suggest a possible link. A study of Danish women published in 2014 found that mothers who used acetaminophen during pregnancy had a 40 percent higher risk of having a child diagnosed with ADHD than moms that did not.
What’s not clear from either study is how much Tylenol you would need to ingest for your child to be affected.
Dr. John Gianopoulos, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Seton Healthcare and a professor of women’s health at the University of Texas Dell Medical School as well as an obstetrician and gynecologist, also wonders if there might be a link between why the mother was taking Tylenol and the ADHD. What if it was the headache or the fever that was the reason for the Tylenol that was actually the factor and not the Tylenol itself, Gianopoulos wonders.
Dr. Sonia Krishna, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Seton Mind Institute, also agrees that more research is needed. “There’s no way to prove that it was the Tylenol that did it,” she says.
More research is needed. What is different about this study and the one before it is that they’re not looking at just the fetus and the infant. They’re looking long-term.
“For almost 40 years, I’ve been recommending Tylenol for fever and pain,” Gianopoulos says. “We have lots and lots of fetal studies that it’s safe and doesn’t cause birth defects.”
This new study, he says, “is concerning to me, but we have to take it with the right perspective.”
So, what’s a pregnant mother in pain to do?
The reality is the other alternatives to acetaminophen are worse. Advil or ibuprofen can cause kidney problems as well as a duct in the heart to close prematurely. Aspirin also can lead to structural defects and infant mortality.
When it comes to fever, the possible effects of the fever on that baby could be worse than possible ADHD. Fever, especially 102 or higher, can cause brain damage and problems with growth in fetuses. For that reason, Gianopoulos is still recommending that a pregnant woman with a fever of 101 or 102 take the Tylenol to get the fever down, and of course, to call her doctor to see what is causing the fever.
What about things that are not fevers? That’s where it gets a little tricky. Perhaps you try non-pharmaceutical options such as yoga, massage and meditation.
In all things pregnancy and health, of course, you consult with your doctor.
And for those of us mothers who took the occasional Tylenol while pregnant and now have a kid who has ADHD, do we now have one more thing to feel guilty about?
No. You didn’t know and you still don’t know. Krishna and Gianopoulos reminds us that more research is needed.
Last night, day three of school, we had two items my daughter needed for classes. Every year, I follow my own Raising Austin advice and try to shop early, but because I have middle school and high school students, I cannot predict that teachers will need things like a GREEN composition book and NEON dry erase markers.
We went on a hunt. First, we tried to avoid the crowd and headed to Office Depot. No luck. Then we headed to Target, which had already taken down the back-to-school section — ON THE THIRD DAY OF SCHOOL. We hunted and hunted and found some dry erase markers we thought would work. They didn’t say NEON, but they were neon-like. When we asked where the composition books were, the nice employees laughed at us and told us they had been sold out of those for two weeks.
We took a deep breath and headed to Walmart. There we found composition books that had green on them: a puppy in green grass, one with a geometric shape in white and green, and one that was all green, but hardbound. We bought them just in case. Like Target, Walmart was also turning over its school supply aisle for storage items for kids going to college. Hint: Going to College and Back to School happen at the same time. Make a plan to include both in your stores at the same time. Please and thank you!
Our final stop was at H-E-B. Who had the elusive GREEN composition notebook. Hooray.
Then we got home and tested out the neon-ish dry erase markers on a black surface. They didn’t work. Back to the old dry erase drawing board.
So, Dear Retailers, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE keep your school supply aisles stocked through Labor Day weekend. Sometimes teachers add school supplies throughout those first two weeks. Sometimes parents can’t get the supplies right away or need to wait to the first of the month for payday. We’ll all get along much easier if you don’t make this “Indiana Jones and the Hunt for the Elusive School Supply” each year.
P.S. If you’re having luck finding what you need, tell us where you went.
As a mom who nursed, I know how many times I had to do it in public. Yes, it’s my right and I’m going to do it, but sometimes I wanted something better to cover up. This month, I got two pitches for two different nursing scarves. Take a look.
Boppy’s Infinity Nursing Scarf allows you to unwrap the scarf, adjust the strap and put baby underneath to nurse. A peek-a-boo panel let’s mom see the baby while it nurses as well as makes it more breathable for baby. The scarf is at Target.com and BabiesRUs.com and in-store at Babies “R” Us for $24.99.
The Pocketed Nursing Scarf by Sholdit has a zippered portion that acts as a place for little things like a burp cloth and a pacifier. It can also be folded up into a purse and you can add a strap to make it a wristlet instead of a clutch. It’s $44.99-$49.99 at sholdit.com.
Taking your baby home from the hospital can be one of the scariest moments, especially if you have a premature baby with a lot of monitoring equipment. Here’s a new product that might be an answer:
Owlet Smart Sock is a sock that monitors baby’s heart rates and oxygen levels. The sock then sends alerts and information to a base station as well as to a parents’ cellphones through an app. It’s lightweight and made of a stretchy material that won’t fall off baby’s foot. The Owlet is $249.99 at owletcare.com.
We’ve spent the day curating our list. Use it as your guide to schedule the family fun next month. Are we missing something? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austin Museum Day. Find many free museums, both the tried and true and the unusual. Free. Sept. 18 austinmuseums.org
Bullock Museum. Free First Sunday. Discover the “La Belle: The Ship That Changed History.” Noon Sept. 4. American Indian Heritage Day. Performances and activities. Free. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 30. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com.
Neill-Cochran House Museum. Sunday Funday. “Selfies on Paper.” Learn early photography techniques and make a pinhole camera. Free. 1-4 p.m. Sept. 4. Neill-Cochran House, 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org
Thinkery. Little Builders! for kids 12 to 24 months. 9:45 a.m. Sept. 3 and Sept. 5; for kids 24 to 36 months, 10:45 a.m. Sept. 3 and Sept. 5, $20 one child and adult. Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Learn about The Alamo, 9 a.m. Sept. 3; Enchanted Rock, 9 a.m. Sept. 10 and Sept. 12; the Johnson Space Center, 9 a.m. Sept. 17 and 19; Big Bend National Park, 9 a.m. Sept. 24 and 26. $4.50. Suminagashi Fabrics for kids 4 and older. Create Japanese marbled fabric. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 and 3:15 p.m., Sept. 3-4, Sept. 17-18. $8 child, $8 adult. Tinkering with Tools for ages 4-7. 12:15 p.m. Sept. 10-11, Sept. 24-25. $8 child, $8 adult. Woodworking for ages 8 and up. 2:15 and 4:15 p.m. Sept. 10-11, Sept. 24-25. $8 child, $8 adult. Spark Club: Get Amped. Design electric guitars. For ages 8-12. 3:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesdays. $80 a month. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.
Contemporary Austin. Families Create! Waterworks. Learn how to make waves. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 10. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org.
Texas Museum of Science & TechnologyStar Party. Every Friday in September, look at the stars in the parking lot. 8-10 p.m. Fridays. Science Saturday. Learn about the Science of Gaming. 4-6 p.m. Aug. 27. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 ToroGrande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org.
Monarch Appreciation Day. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 10. Children’s events, a butterfly tent and release. Zilker Botanical Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.org.
Waller Creek Conservancy Sunday Funday. Crafts from Austin Creative Art Center, Austin Art Garage, Imagination Playground, Quick Draw Photo Booth and more. Entertainment Hey Lolly puppet show, Hideout Theater Improve and the Peterson Brothers. Plus food trucks and free frozen treats for the first 100 kids. 2-6 p.m. Sept. 18. Palm Park, 711 E. Third St. www.wallercreek.org
Austin Zoo Conservation Day. Celebrate the zoo’s 26th anniversary with activities and demonstrations from Texas Parks and Wildlife, Austin Astronomical Society, Travis Audubon, The Natural Gardener, TreeFolks, Travis County Master Gardeners, Horned Lizard Conservation Society, Millberg Farms, Two Hives Honey, Austin EcoNetwork, Texas Master Naturalists, 4-H Central and Girl Scouts. The first 200 visitors to Conservation Day will receive a free packet of native/heritage flower or vegetable plant seeds from Seed Savers and Native American Seed. 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 17. 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org
“Mary Poppins.” See everyone’s favorite nanny come to life. $29-$79. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Sept. 4. Zach Theatre’s Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org.
“Jamie Doesn’t Want to Take a Bath” from Pollyanna Theatre. 9 a.m. Sept. 10 and 17. Allen R. Baca Center, 301 W. Bagdad Ave. 11 a.m. Sept. 12 and 19, 9 a.m. Sept. 13 and 20. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. $6.50. pollyannatheatrecompany.org.
The Alamo Drafthouse. “PBS Kids: Peg + Cat Mystery Hour.” Enjoy activities and watching several episodes of the show. 10 a.m. Sept. 10-11, Lakeline. Reserve tickets for $1-$3 donation online. drafthouse.com.
Children’s music from Front Door Concerts. Hear music from the likes of Staci Gray, Ms. Kat, Joe McDermott, Mr. Will, Terrence Taps, French to Music and more. 10 a.m.-noon Sept. 10. Central Market North. 4001 N. Lamar Blvd. frontdoorconcerts.com.
BookPeople story times. Story time with Angela Dominguez, who reads “Marta! Big and Small,” 11:30 a.m. Sep. 3. Jennifer Rustgi and Ashley White read “A Moon of My Own,” 2 p.m. Sept. 4. Ransom Riggs and TaherehMafi read “Tales of the Peculiar” and “Furthermore,” 7 p.m. Sept. 6. Sarah J. Maas reads “Empire of the Storms,” 6 p.m. Sept. 7. ChristinaSoontornvat reads “The Changeleings,” 3 p.m. Sept. 10. Bethany Hegedus reads “Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story,” 2 p.m. Sept. 11.RafiMittlefehldt reads “It Looks Like This,” 3 p.m. Sept. 18. Story time with Beth Guillot, who reads “Elizabeth the Dreamer,” 11:30 a.m. Sept. 24. Kristen-Paige Madonia reads “Invisible Fault Lines,” 7 p.m. Sept. 28. Ridley Pearson reads “Lock and Key: The Initiation,” 6 p.m. Sept. 29. Other story times:Riding Unicorns, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6. Very Colorful story time, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 7. Gymboree, 11:30 a.m. Sept. 10. Silly story time, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 13. Ms. Staci story time, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 14. The Dark Knight story time, 11:30 a.m. Sept. 17. Armstrong Community Music School, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 20. Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 12.BookPeople Puppet Show Players, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 27. April and Amy story time, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 28.BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble Events: Batman Day. 2 p.m. Sept. 17, all locations. PhilBildner reads “Rookie of the Year,” 2 p.m. Sept. 17, Round Rock. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “If you Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t,” Sept. 3. “Ada Twist, Scientist,” Sept. 10. “Curious George,” Sept. 17. “The Cookie Fiasco!” Sept. 24.
Devorah Heitner, founder of the website Raising Digital Natives, gives parents a different perspective on children around technology in her new book “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World” ($19.95, Routledge)
Instead of installing monitoring software like My Mobile Watchdog and Net Nanny, she wants parents to mentor their children about appropriate use of all the screens they use. “The more walls we build, the more we are just creating little hackers who are just trying to get around the fence,” she says.
Heitner, who lives in Chicago, taught media studies, especially kids and media and culture at the college level before starting Raising Digital Natives. She will be in Austin next week talking to parents at Doss and Highland Park elementaries. Her talks are open to the public.
While parents and teachers come to her presentations wanting the instant fix they think they will get by installing the perfect software, she’s says, “I’m just not their girl.” She won’t recommend an app. The only thing she might recommend is a router that you can set time limits on, not just for the kids, but also for the parents, too.
Instead, she teaches parents and teachers how to promote good citizenship online, and she wants parents to model good citizenship, too. That means connecting with the humans around them and putting down the device. It also means using good behavior in texts, in emails and in social media and talking to kids about why you chose the words you did and why you didn’t use other words.
Mentoring allows you to create an environment where kids feel comfortable talking to you about what they experience on social media, texting or online, she says. If you create an environment where you are monitoring and everything is forbidden, kids feel like they have to hide what they have seen or risk getting in trouble, she says. “You’re creating an environment that is a lack of trust and filtration.”
Parents fear that their kids will see something inappropriate, but you can’t really prevent that because you can’t apply a filter to every screen their friends have.
“It’s not if they see something, it’s when,” Heitner says. Even her own son, who is a second-grader, has come across things that she would not have wanted him to see until he was older. It has created an opportunity to talk about what he saw and why it’s not appropriate to see it.
If you’re not monitoring, but mentoring, it doesn’t mean you don’t know what your kids are doing. In fact you’re having a conversation about the group text they are getting, the things they Google, the people they are playing Minecraft with.
Parents who are secretly monitoring their kids get themselves into trouble. How do they let their children know what they saw that they don’t approve of if they’re not supposed to be monitoring them? “If you’re secretively monitoring what would your kid have to do, rob a bank” before you would talk to them about what they are doing? she asks.
One of the other questions parents ask her besides asking which monitoring app to use is when is it appropriate to give a child a cellphone. Her answer is it depends on the child. You want to make sure your child is responsible enough to not lose it and mature enough to not be impulsive at texting or social media posts. Many kids might not be all of that in fifth or sixth grade, when many parents start providing a cellphone. “Look for maturity, rather than a winter holiday,” she says about the timing of a gift of a cellphone.
However, you can’t avoid the cellphone forever. At some point, not having a cellphone means that kids will be isolated socially. By high school, almost every kid has a cellphone.
Here are some things to make sure to talk to your children about or ask them about when it comes to devices:
Do they know they people they are playing online games with? If not, you might want to set up a private server in games like Mindcraft to only invite real people they know.
Are they involved in group texts? Remind them that everyone is on those texts and can get hurt.
Are friends sharing texts with other friends about other friends? Remind them to not engage in that behavior and call it out when they see them.
Do they know the difference between online friends and real friends?
Are they looking for validation based on the number of likes and comments on posts?
What will happen if they lose their phone, tablet or computer? How will they reimburse you?
Do they understand that digital money is real money? Do you have a plan on what permission they will need and how they can pay for their online purchases?
How much time is too much screen time? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours a day. What limits will you set?
What will cause them to lose their phone, tablet or computer?
Where will the phones, tablets and computers live at night? Hint: Not in their bedrooms.
Make sure they know it’s OK to not respond to texts and social media posts right away. They don’t need to be connected all the time.
Invite them to ask you when they have a question. Google is wonderful, but it might provide information they might not understand or might be overwhelming to them.
Talk through different situations: What will you do if you see something inappropriate on your phone? What will you do if you feel a friend is not behaving well online? What will you do if a friend doesn’t understand that you can’t respond right away?