Is your child on track? New CDC app helps track milestones

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new app to help parents keep track of their baby’s milestones from 2 months to 5 years.

The app is available on the iPhone App store and the Google Play store.

Here are some of the features of the Milestone Tracker app:

  • Milestone Tracker – track your child’s developmental progress by looking for important milestones using an interactive, illustrated checklist
  • Milestone Photos and Videos – know what each milestone looks like so that you can better identify them in your own child
  • Tips and Activities – support your child’s development at every age
  • When to Act Early – know when it’s time to “act early” and talk with your child’s doctor about developmental concerns
  • Appointments – keep track of your child’s doctors’ appointments and get reminders about recommended developmental screenings
  • Milestone Summary – get a summary of your child’s milestones to view, and share with or email to your child’s doctor and other important care providers
  • Add a Child – enter personalized information about your child or multiple children

Of course, no app can replace regular well-check visits with the pediatrician, but it can help reassure you if you’re concerned about where your child is compared with what would be considered “normal” or can help you raise the red flag if you’re noticing that your child doesn’t do what other children his age is doing.

If your child isn’t following the milestones, there are early interventions that are available before age 3. 

Can men get postpartum depression? Possibly

We’re starting to understand that postpartum depression is real and nothing to laugh about. Even the ABC TV show “Black-ish” handled it well recently, yes with some laughter, but with a real conversation about what can happen when the hormones shift after birth.

On “Black-ish” Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) is feeling overwhelmed after the birth of DeVante and learns she is suffering from postpartum depression. Dre (Anthony Anderson) urges her to get help and stands by her side while she works through it. ABC/Eric McCandless

Now a study published in  U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health seems to indicate that men also can become depressed after fatherhood, and it might have to do with their testosterone levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also indicates that depression after fatherhood happens in about 4 percent of men, whereas with women it’s 10 percent to 12 percent.

Dr. Stephen Strakowski is the chair of psychiatry at University of Texas Dell Medical School and a psychiatrist at Seton Healthcare Family.

Dr. Stephen Strakowski, a psychiatrist for Seton Healthcare Family and the chair of psychiatry at University of Texas Dell Medical School, says, “There’s absolutely a dramatic difference between what we mean when we say postpartum depression for men and postpartum depression for women, which has a major biological component.”

With men, there isn’t the dramatic hormonal shift that they experience after birth, yet the study that looked at men’s testosterone levels post baby and depression seemed to indicated that those fathers who were experiencing depression after the birth of their child also were more likely to have low testosterone levels.

What’s not clear is what came first? The low testosterone level which lead to the the depression when the baby came or the depression or baby lowering the testosterone level.

That study, which only surveyed 149 couples, also found a different link between testosterone and postpartum depression.  Women whose partners had high testosterone levels were more likely to have postpartum depression than those whose partners had normal levels. Could the stress of having a partner with postpartum depression raise a man’s testosterone? Or is there something about his testosterone level that makes it more likely for her to have postpartum depression?

What’s clear from this study is that it raises more questions than it answers.

Yet, there is something about having a new baby in the house that can lead to the family, not just mom, experiencing depression. Strakowski reminds us that babies often come with a lack of sleep and stress. All of that can feed depression, especially for a person who has had episodes of depression previously.

“In women, we absolutely need to worry about postpartum depression. It’s very common and very commonly missed,” Strakowski says.

Gynecologists often become the first line of defense at that first post-baby follow up visit. Some now are screening for depression, but more should and should talk to their patients about warning signs.

“It’s imminently treatable,” he says.

While we’re often not catching postpartum depression in women, we also need to be looking for signs of depression new fathers, too. “Having a depressed father is also not helpful to the family system,” Strakowski says.

Look for these warning signs:

  • Feeling down.
  • A loss of interest in things you normally enjoy.
  • Being tired (beyond what seems normal for having a new baby).
  • Having trouble concentrating.
  • Having trouble sleeping (and not because of the baby).
  • Low energy.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Weight changes.
  • Any suicidal thoughts.
  • Physically pain such as back pain, neck pain, headache, stomach ache.
  • Desire to harm another person.

If you or someone you know seems to have one or more of these symptoms, get help by making an appointment with your health care professional.



Have old medications? Drop them off Saturday for Drug Take Back Day

This is happening again this weekend (April 28).

Travis County Constables are happy to have your old expired, unused and unwanted prescriptions.

Travis County Constable Offices will be happy to take back your prescription drugs on April 28.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can drop them off at these precinct locations:

4717 Heflin Lane Suite 127


10409 Burnet Road, Suite 150


8656 Texas 71 W. Suite 132


4011 McKinney Falls Parkway Suite 1100


1003 Guadalupe St.

The events help properly dispose of the medications. You should never throw prescriptions in the toilet or in the trash because that could lead to harming the water supply or falling into the wrong hands (kids).

Find other take back locations at or

Win free tickets to ‘Pinklalicious’ at the Paramount Theatre Austin

“Pinkalicious” is coming! The children’s books by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann are now a musical. Pinkalicious is a  girl who loves pink. Everything in her world should be pink.

“Pinkalicious” by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann.

The musical will be at Paramount Theatre Nov. 5.

I’ve got two sets of two tickets to give away. If you want to enter this contest, send an email to with your name and phone number and put Pinkalicious in the subject line. I’ll pull the winners at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

“Pinkalicious: The Musical.” 

2 p.m. Nov. 5

Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.


Plan your weekend of Halloween family fun and more, Oct. 27-29

Cooler weather is ahead with highs in the 60s, lows in the 40s and 50s. It’s almost like it’s fall and Halloween is around the corner.

Check out these family events this weekend:

Spooktacular. Explore the Bullock Museum during this Halloween extravaganza. 


Bullock Museum. Spooktacular. Come dress for Halloween activities. 5 p.m. Friday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Thinkery. Little Thinkers Club. Get Into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Friday. $20. Family Night: Halloween Hootenanny. Come in costume and ready for fun. $15 adults, $13 children. 6-9 p.m. Friday. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Wildflower Center. Afternoon Explorers: Nature Journaling. Create journals for writing and sketching. $15 adults, $10 children. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Friday. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Literature Live Presents: “Strega Nona.” 10:15 a.m. Friday, Ruiz Branch.

Día de los Muertos. 3:30 p.m. Friday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

The Austin Zoo puts on Boo at the Zoo. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $17.50. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail.



Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 8. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls.

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Fall Farm Fun. Explore a corn maze, hay bale maze and a crazy maze, plus go on a hay ride, visit animals and get a mini pumpkin to decorate. Big pumpkins to purchase. $7. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin.

Ballet Austin brings back its charming ‘Not Afraid of the Dark.’ Contributed


Pumpkin Carving. Free pumpkins based on household size, plus games, face painting and more. 11 a.m. Saturday. Saturday, Carver Center, 1165 Angelina St.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers. Learn about fall on the farm. For infant to 3. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Science Saturday: HalloweenSTEAM. Noon-4 p.m Saturday. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park.

Wildflower Center. Botanical Drawing. Create art based on the garden, for ages 10 and up. $40. 1-4 p.m. Saturday.  Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Pinkalicious Story Time with Paramount Theatre. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

BookPeople Story times: Best Friends Forever, 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “Mary McScary,” Saturday.

Central Library Grand Opening. 11 a.m. Saturday, Central Library.

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop has a themed corn maze, a pumpkin patch, farm animals, face painting, and more. Photos: Barton Hill Farms


Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Go through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free, but pay for activities and pumpkins. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple.

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 5. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop.

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Hunt. Go hunting pumpkins, launch pumpkins, train ride, maze, mini golf, fishing pond pony rides and bounce house. $2.50 for each activity. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays in October. 242 Monkey Road.

Fall Family Fun Days. Enjoy raptor shows, snake shows, sheep shearing, corn shucking, apple cider making, live music, and lots of local vendors selling everything from fresh organic produce, eggs, honey, jam, and bread and more. $9-$3. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays in October. Crowe’s Nest Farm, 10300 Taylor Lane.

Thinkery. Costume Design. Make your own costume. For ages 4 and up. $8. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More shows through Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road.

“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 1 p.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St.

“Paw Patrol Live!” Your favorite toys come to life on the stage. $23-$74.  10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday. 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Ballet Austin’s “Not Afraid of the Dark.” See glowing ballet in the dark. $15. 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday and Saturday. Ballet Austin Studio Theater, 501 W. Third St.


Austin Symphony’s Halloween Children’s Concert will play spooky but not too scary music. Austin Symphony Orchestra


FARE Heroes Walk. 3 p.m. Sunday. O’Henry Middle School, 2610 W. 10th St. It’s free to walk, but donations are appreciated to raise $45,000 for food allergy awareness and research.

Hideout Theatre Presents: “Block Heads, improv based on Minecraft. 2 p.m. Sundays. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.

Halloween Concert. Hear Halloween-themed music from the Austin Symphony. $14-$19. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday. Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1925 E. 51st St.

Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. Sunday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

IBM giving its parents $50,000 per child for disability services

Today, IBM let its employees know it’s expanding the benefits to its working parents.

In a blog, it announce the plan Meeting the Needs of 21st Century Parenting. 

We’ve written about some of the benefits IBM employees who are moms, including those in Austin, receive. Specifically, its innovative program to ship breast milk home when an nursing mother who is an employee has to travel for work.

Carlie Bower sits in one of the individual rooms in a Mother’s Room at IBM. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Now, IBM is reimbursing employees up to $50,000 to cover services for each child with mental, physical or developmental disabilities. This $50,000 is in addition to what insurance already might cover.

This is huge. Having a child with different abilities is incredibly expensive. It can financially ruin families. Even with amazing insurance, parents are still spending tens of thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket expenses on co-pays, services not covered by insurance, equipment, parking, medications and more.

IBM also expanded many of its other parent-friendly programs, including:

  • Increased paid parental leave to up to 20 weeks (from 14 weeks);
  • Doubled paid parental leave for IBM dads, partners and adoptive parents to 12 weeks.
  • Parents can choose to take parental leave any time during the first year after the birth or adoption;
  • Reimburse up to $20,000 for eligible adoption or surrogacy expenses including medical costs associated with surrogate birth mothers.

IBM also offers expectant mother parking spots, child care and after-school center discounts, child care centers at its locations, and flexible scheduling for parents who need to pick children up after school, go to children’s events or appointments.

How is your company helping you be a better parent?

Plan ahead with these Austin family events in November

November is full of family-friendly events, especially as we gear up for the winter holidays. Set your calendar for these:


Kensington Jordan dances to a DJ with other girls at the Girls Empowerment Network’s “We Are Girls” conference in 2015. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

We Are Girls. Girls Empowerment Network’s conference for girls in third through eighth grade and the people who love them. It’s the 10th year of this conference. Expect a birthday party extravaganza. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 4 Anderson High School, 8403 Mesa Drive. $30

Celtic Fest. Music, dance, animals and Highland games. Noon-7:30 p.m. Nov. 4-5. $15 adults, kids 12 and younger free. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive.

Veteran’s Day Parade. Celebrate veterans while the parade goes down Congress Avenue downtown. 8 a.m. to noon, Nov. 11.

ATX Think Bilingual Fair. Learn about programs and resources for bilingual education. 1-4 p.m. Nov. 12. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road.

Jasper Czysz, 4, holds onto his Hot Wheels toy he is ready to donate, but first watches the annual Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. This year it’s a week earlier than in year’s past. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Chuy’s Children’s Giving to Children Parade. It’s early this year, so set your calendar now. Free. 11 a.m. Nov. 18. Bring an unwrapped new toy to donate to Operation Blue Santa while you see the floats go by.

Turkey Trot and Kids K. The Kids K starts this Thanksgiving tradition. $10. 8:45 a.m. Nov. 23. Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive.

Gingerbread Fun Run 1 K. A fun run for kids of all ages and abilities that benefits the Thinkery. $18-$22. 9 a.m. Nov. 18. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month’s theme: Rodeoed. Free. 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 1. Reservations required.

Starry Nights. See a star show in the mini-planetarium and learn how the Ancient Greeks saw the universe. 5-7 p.m. Nov. 2. Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane.

Child safety car seat check. 9 a.m. Nov. 7. Free. Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m. Nov. 13, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St. 9 a.m. Nov. 15, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane. Register at 512-972-7233.

Fall festivals

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 5. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop.

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 8. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls.

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Buy Christmas trees beginning Nov. 24. On the weekend, paint pine cones and roast s’mores. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin.

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Hunt. Buy Christmas trees beginning Nov. 24. 242 Monkey Road.

Santa on the Terrace. Come meet Santa and More. Free. 10 a.m. Nov. 24. Long Center, Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Ollie Mae Barnet, 1,  and Luna Santana, 2, play in the Light Lab at the Thinkery. The museum has many workshops for kids their age. RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Fall Festival and Star Party. 5-8 p.m. Nov. 4. Free. Austin Nature and Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive.

First Saturdays at the Carver Museum. Enjoy family events. Free. Noon Nov. 5. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Bullock MuseumH-E-B Free First Sunday. Free family fun around wthe museum. Noon-5 p.m. Nov. 5. Living History Days. Re-enactors stroll through the museum. 10 a.m. Nov. 2. Little Texans: I Spy. 10 a.m. Nov. 9. Science Thursdays. 10 a.m. Nov. 16. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Thinkery. Parents’ Night Out. The kids ages four and up play at the Thinkery, while you see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 3. $40 for first child, $20 each additional child. Community Night: Native American Heritage. See dances, learn about culture and make art.4-8 p.m. Nov. 1. Free, but donations accepted. Little Thinkers Club. Nature as Our Canvas! Make art inspired by nature.. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds. Wednesdays through Dec. 13. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Little Thinkers Club. Amazing Animals. Do art and yoga inspired by animals. 9:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays through Dec. 15. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Colorful Creations. Learn about rainbows. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds. Nov. 20. $20. Baby Bloomers. Learn all about shapes. For infant to 3. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Owl Pellet Dissection. See what an owl ate by looking at its poop. For ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Nov. 4-5, Nov. 18-20. $8. Storytelling with Ozobots. Make your own costume. For ages 4 and up. $8. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Nov. 11-12, Nov. 24-26. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: Printing techniques. Learn how to create a message using old-fashioned techniques. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 5. Free. 2310 San Gabriel St.

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Action Painting. Learn how to make art by throwing paper pulp. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 11. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

Hill Country Science Mill. Homeschool Day: Geosciences & Energy. All day Nov. 9. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Wildflower Center. Afternoon Explorers: Butterflies in the Garden. Explore the butterfly garden. $15 adults, $10 children. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Nov. 3. Texas Arbor Day. Climb the trees in the arbor with harnesses. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 4. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Gardening Class. 10:45 a.m. Tuesdays. Free. Fairy Party. Make fairy crafts and more. 10:30 a.m.-noon Nov. 4. $10 a child. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Tooth Fairy visits. Learn how to brush your teeth correctly and hear a story. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 9. Thanksgiving story time and craft. A snack, craft and fun with Hideout Theater guest. $10:30 a.m. Nov. 17. $10 per child. Meet Curious George! 10:30 a.m. Nov. 18. $10 per child. Enchanted Castle. Milly McSilly will entertain. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 29. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Blue Starlite is showing every Harry Potter movie in November.


Harry Potter Fest. See all the movies Nov. 10-Dec. 9. Various prices. Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In. 12419 Lowden Lane, Manchaca.

That’s My Face: Youth and Young Adult Film Series: “Born Again Artist.” The story of Vietnamese American artists Christine Hoang. Free. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Alamo Drafthouse events: PBS Kids “Wild Kratts.” 10 a.m. Nov. 11-12, Lakeline. Cartoon Network Presents “Ben 10: Omni-Tricked.” 10:30 a.m. Nov. 11, Slaughter Lane.

“Chicken Story Time” is from Pollyanna Theatre Company.


“Bot Party 3.0.” It’s a robot game show. 8 p.m. Nov. 3-4, 2 p.m. Nov. 4-5. $20-$14. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Hideout Theatre Presents: “Block Heads, improv based on Minecraft. 2 p.m. Sundays. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.

“Pinkalicious: The Musical.” The book comes to the stage. 2 p.m. Nov. 5. $20-$18. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.

“The Diary of Anne Frank.” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3, 4, 10 11 and 17. 2 p.m. Nov. 5, 12. $18-$10. EmilyAnn Theatre 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley.

Jack Hanna’s “Into the Wild Live!” America’s zookeeper 2 p.m. Nov. 12. $30-$57. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.

“A Christmas Carol.” 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 25-17. $8-$10. EmilyAnn Theatre 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley.

Pollyanna Theatre Company presents “Chicken Story Time.” Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to story time. Hear stories with a lot of chickens. For ages 2-4. 9:30 a.m. Nov. 9-11, Nov. 16-18, 11 a.m. Nov. 9-11, Nov. 16-18. $6.75. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive.

Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 11 a.m. Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25; 2 p.m. Nov. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25. 1 p.m. Nov. 24. More shows through Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The holiday TV special comes to the stage. Your favorite toys come to life on the stage. $29-$59. 4 p.m. Nov. 24, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Nov. 25. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Ballet Austin’s Creative Movement free classes. 2:45 p.m. Nov. 11, ages 18 months to 2; 3:30 p.m. Nov. 11, age 3; 4:15 p.m. Nov. 11, ages 4-5. Ballet Austin Studio Theater, 501 W. Third St.

Peppa Pig Live! 6 p.m. Nov. 29. ACL Live at the Moody Theater, 300 Willie Nelson Blvd.


Big Don Kid Show. It’s a hip-hop storytelling show. 10 a.m. Nov. 5. Cherrywood Coffeehouse, 1400 E. 38th 1/2 St.

Head to the children’s tent of the Texas Book Festival.


Texas Book Festival. Head to the kids’ area and get your books signed, find new books and listen to authors read their stories. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 4, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 5, Capitol grounds.

BookPeople events. Marissa Meyer reads “Renegades.” 7 p.m. Nov. 13. Dave Engledow reads “The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Go to Bed.” 2 p.m. Nov. 19. Story times: Mrs. Kat’s Music & Movement. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 1. Illustrator Spotlight: Misha Blaise. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 7. Ms. Staci. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 8. Paramount Theatre: “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” 11:30 a.m. Nov. 11. Milly McSilly. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 14. Tiny Tails Petting Zoo. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 15. Favorite Characters. 11:30 a.m. Nov. 18. Armstrong Community Music School. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 21. Bilingual Boogie. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 22. Story time with Seth Fishman. 11:30 a.m. Nov. 25. Fitting In. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 28. Modern First Library. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 29. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: Paramount Theatre story time. 11 a.m. Nov. 11, Arboretum. Mini Maker Faire. Noon, Nov. 11-12, Arboretum. 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “Bruce’s Big Move.” Nov. 4; “A Loud Winter’s Nap.” Nov. 11. “Bear Says Thanks.” Nov. 18. “Everything is Mama.” Nov. 25.

At the library

Bow Wow Reading with Aussie. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 1, North Village Branch. Bow Wow Reading with Roo. 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1, Nov. 8, Nov. 15, Little Walnut Creek Branch. Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie. 11:30 a.m. Nov. 4, Nov. 11, Nov. 18, Nov. 25, Yarborough Branch. Bow Wow Reading with Scout. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 7, Old Quarry Branch. Bow Wow Reading with George. 3:45 p.m. Nov. 8, Pleasant Hill Branch. Mornings with Moxie. 10 a.m. Nov. 11, Manchaca Road Branch.

Music & Movement. 3:30 pm. Nov. 1, Hampton Branch. 11:30 a.m. Nov. 8, Manchaca Road Branch. 11 a.m. Nov. 9, Howson Branch. 11 a.m. Nov. 12, Pleasant Hill Branch. 11 a.m. Nov. 16, Howson Branch. 11 a.m. Nov. 30, Howson Branch.

The Contemporary Austin Presents: Glowing Aliens. For ages 3-5. 11 a.m. Nov. 2, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 10:15 p.m. Nov. 13, Carver Branch. 11 a.m. Nov. 16, Manchaca Road Branch.

“The Elves and the Shoemaker.” For ages 5 and up. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2, North Village Branch. 2 p.m. Nov. 4, Recycled Reads Bookstore. 10:15 a.m. Nov. 7, Carver Branch. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 10, Manchaca Road Branch. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 14, Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 16, Pleasant Hill Branch. 4:30 p.m. Nov. 21, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 11 a.m. Nov. 28, Ruiz Branch. 10:15 a.m. Nov. 30, Cepeda Branch.

Graphic Novel Book Club. “The Incal.” 6 p.m. Nov. 2, North Village Branch. “The Infinite Loop.” 7 p.m. Nov. 10, Windsor Park Branch.

Día de los Muertos. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 10:30 a.m. Nov. 3, Central Library. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 3, Hampton Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Boss Baby.” 2 p.m. Nov. 4, Windsor Park Branch.

Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Sew Happy. 5 p.m. Nov. 7, Manchaca Road Branch.

NBTween Book Club “Real Friends.” 4 p.m. Nov. 8, Howson Branch.“Frogkisser!” 6 p.m. Nov. 16, Twin Oaks Branch. “Lost in the Sun.” 6 p.m. Nov. 29, Spicewood Springs Branch.

NaNoWriMo: Writing Workshop for Teens. 6 p.m. Nov. 8, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, 1 p.m. Nov. 21, Central Library.

Night Builders: Family Lego Lab. 7 p.m. Nov. 10, Hampton Branch.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. Nov. 12, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Crafternoon. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 13, Manchaca Road Branch. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 14, Howson Branch.

Family Movie Night: “Captain Underpants.” 6 p.m. Nov. 14, Twin Oaks Branch.

Mother-Daughter Book Club: “When the Sea Turned to Silver.” 6 p.m. Nov. 15, Hampton Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6:30 a.m. Nov. 15, Howson Branch. 7 pm. Nov. 30, Hampton Branch.

Teen Book Club. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee: “Nightmare Before Christmas.” 3:30 p.m. Nov. 17, Old Quarry Branch.

Crafting for a Cause. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 27, Manchaca Road Branch.

Why do so many kids have anxiety? Some answers

Is anxiety the new depression in our kids?

We’ve been writing about that in many ways during the last five years.  More people are talking about it after a New York Times story about high-schoolers and anxiety.

That story pointed out that 51 percent of kids who visited college mental health services in the 2015-2016 school year reported anxiety, followed by depression 41 percent. 


The pressure to be perfect academically could up the anxiety level in kids. Shutterstock

So what’s going on with our kids?

A couple of things:

Use of social media. Social media and its overabundance of use in kids is causing a change in their mental health. Two studies out of Hungary and England found a link to kids who used a lot of social media and mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. They are living in a false world, making it hard to communicate in the real world and be a real person.

Helicopter parents. A Southern Methodist University study found that teens, especially girls, who had overinvolved parents (helicopter) had trouble with social anxiety and autonomy.

Lack of structure and limits set by parents. Dr. Leonard Sax wrote about that in “The Collapse of Parenting,” and blames a lack of parental authority as a reason for childhood obesity, the number of kids on anti-anxiety and ADHD medications, as well as why kids seem so fragile today and have a lack or respect.

The pressure to do more and be perfect. The race to get into “the right” college starts early. It starts in what reading level, what standardized test scores you get, what activities you do as a grade-schooler and only increases in intensity through middle school and high school.

Karen Ranus, the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness Austin, points to social media and the pressure to be seen in a certain way, as well as the pressure that parents and schools are putting on kids. 

“We’re not the type of community and culture where we value play and value kids just having time to just be, to be outside, to unwind and to be connected (to their community),” she says.

A change in how they talk about stress. A Girls Empowerment Network study this year of girls in Texas found that girls were talking about being stressed out.  They felt like they couldn’t measure up and that they had too much to do. Now, they pointed to anxiety, whereas years earlier they had talked about depression.

And that is a big part of it. Anxiety is the word they use. They talk about feeling anxious, not as much about feeling depressed.

This doesn’t mean that kids are just having anxiety to be en vogue. Anxiety is a serious, debilitating mental illness.

If you suspect your kid has it or any other kind of mental illness, call your pediatrician to get a mental health professional recommendation. If the pediatrician doesn’t take you seriously, find a child psychiatrist. You can also call NAMI Austin, 512-420-9810,, to find resources.

Or try these local resources:

Teens can also text START to 741-741, which is the Crisis Text Line, to get help.


Is your pediatrician talking sex with your children?

A new recommendation — Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services in the Pediatric Setting — from the Committee on Adolescence at the American Academy of Pediatrics, reminds pediatricians how important they are in the sexual health of their teen patients.

Lauren Fant, left, 18, winces as she has her third and final application of the HPV vaccine administered by nurse Stephanie Pearson at a doctor’s office in Marietta, Ga. Doctors are key in providing information about sex and sexuality, an American Academy of Pediatrics report found. John Amis 2007

It makes the case by giving these statistics:

  • 45 percent of 15- to 19-year-old male and female youth in the United States report having had vaginal intercourse with an opposite-sex partner
  • 2.5 percent of 15- to 19-year-old male youth report having had oral or anal sex with another male
  • 11 percent of 15- to 19-year-old female youth report having had a sexual experience (including oral sex) with another female.
  • 65 percent of reported Chlamydia and 50 percent of reported gonorrhea cases occur among 15- to 24-year-olds
  • Teen-aged birth rates in the United States have declined to the lowest rates seen in 7 decades yet still rank highest among industrialized countries
  • Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among female youth
  • 50 percent  of teen-aged mothers earn a high school diploma by 22 years of age versus approximately 90 percent of females who did not give birth during adolescence

And it reminds them they they have opportunities in those pediatric well checks to talk about

  • healthy relationships and whether they feel safe in their current relationships
  • how to avoid risky sexual situations
  • prevention of STIs including HIV
  • prevention of unintended pregnancies
  • reproductive health-related cancers
  • planning for the timing and spacing of children
  • planning for pregnancy
  • delivering preconception health care

They also can facilitate a discussion between parent and child about sex, but the academy also recommends pediatricians have the opportunity to talk confidentially to the child about sex when the parent is not in the room. It recommends starting to have these confidential talks without parents in the room beginning with the 11-year-old well-check.

The study also looked at what pediatricians are currently doing and found:

  • Only one-third of teens reported receipt of information on contraception and STI and/or HIV prevention.
  • 86 percent of pediatricians said they discussed puberty and reproductive health.
  • Two-thirds reported talking about abstinence, contraception and condom use with teens.
  • Only 18 percent talked about sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • When observed, 65 percent of adolescents had a discussion with their doctor about sexual issues, but those discussions lasted about 36 seconds.

Those 36 seconds probably don’t cover much. Imagine if you’re a teen who doesn’t feel comfortable talking to your parent or your parent doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you. Where are you supposed to get your information? Probably not in school, though there is some talk of sexually transmitted diseases in health class or science class, but it’s not much.

In the locker room? In the cafeteria at lunch? Where? And if you’re getting it from your friends who are getting it from their friends, how accurate is all of it?

But if your doctor gives you information, more than just a handout, and let’s you ask questions, wouldn’t that be better information for you?



Do University of Texas, Texas A&M make top colleges list?

Financial analyzer Wallet Hub looked at the price of college and financing, selectivity, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates and post-attendance median salary and more to rank the top 30 universities and colleges in the United States. 

University of Texas incoming freshman Maxwell Gaddy, from Midland gets help from his father Chris and sister Jenna, 16, moving into Duran Residence Hall last year. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

How do Texas and Texas A&M rank? Not in the top 30. But Texas was ranked 59. It didn’t do well in cost and financing, faculty resources, safety and campus experience. Texas A&M ranked 118 out of 500. Cost, faculty resources and campus experience were it’s weaker elements.

The best college in Texas on this list: Rice, which came in at 18. It did well on faculty resources and career outcome.

Where are the other Texas colleges? Trinity University was 80, Southwestern was 121, Austin College was 126, LeTourneau University was 133, SMU was 139, UT-Dallas was 145, University of Houston was 194,  UT-Rio Grande Valley was 196, Texas Christian was 197, Baylor was 201, Houston Baptist was 219, Dallas Baptist was 239, Texas Lutheran was 283, Texas Tech was 338, St. Mary’s was 366, Abilene Christian was 394, UT-Arlington was 482, Southwestern Assemblies of God was 485, and UT-North Texas was 487.

Texas schools also made some of the category lists: UT-El Paso had one of the lowest admission rates; Texas Wesleyan University had the highest percentage of international students; University of Houston-Downtown had one of the lowest graduation rates; UT-Permian Basin had the lowest amount of student loan debt; and Paul Quinn college had one of the highest loan default rates.


Top 30 Colleges & Universities in America

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA)

2 Princeton University (NJ)

3 Harvard University (MA)

4 Stanford University (CA)

5 California Institute of Technology (CA)

6 Yale University (CT)

7 Duke University (NC)

8 University of Pennsylvania (PA)

9 Columbia University (NY)

10 Rice University (TX)

11 University of California-Berkeley (CA)

12 Harvey Mudd College (CA)

13 Johns Hopkins University (MD)

14 Brown University (RI)

15 Pomona College (CA)

16 University of Notre Dame (IN)

17 Dartmouth College (NH)

18 Vanderbilt University (TN)

19 Williams College (MA)

20 University of Chicago (IL)

21 University of California-Los Angeles (CA)

22 Northwestern University (IL)

23 Amherst College (MA)

24 Swarthmore College (PA)

25 Cornell University (NY)

26 Georgetown University (DC)

27 University of Virginia (VA)

28 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (NC)

29 Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

30 Vassar College (NY)