Enter to win tickets to ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ at the Paramount

It’s many a kid’s dream — to have real life penguins living in their house. Now “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” comes to the Paramount Theatre on Sunday. You might have seen the movie starring Jim Carrey or read the book by Florence Atwater. Now you can see it on stage.

Jim Carrey starred in the movie version of  “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” 20th Century Fox, Barry Wetcher

I have two sets of two tickets to give away. Send an email to nvillalpando@statesman.com with your name and phone number in it. Put “Penguins” in the subject line. I’ll draw out winners on Friday morning.

“Mr. Popper’s Penguins”

When: 2 p.m. Dec. 3

Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.

Tickets: $18 and up

Information: austintheatre.org

When the ‘Frozen’ short before ‘Coco’ isn’t short at all

Did anyone like the “Frozen” short before “Coco”? We’d love to hear it if your kids did.

What we’ve heard is “Ugh! It’s awful.”

“Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” (Disney Pixar)

“Ugh! It’s too long!” followed by “A short is supposed to be short.”

“It should have been straight to DVD” followed by “It’s just a Christmas TV special that no one thought was good enough for TV.”

“It’s just an excuse to get people to come to ‘Coco’,” followed by, “Why didn’t they think ‘Coco’ was strong enough on its own?”

Confession: I didn’t get to go see “Coco.” My husband and daughter had a daddy-daughter date, which is important, but I heard about it. A lot. From them and from friends and from co-workers.

How long can your kids sit through a movie?

“Coco ” is an hour and 49 minutes, which is a bit on the long side, really.

Then you add 21 minutes of “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.”

Plus add on the time you sat waiting to get popcorn, waiting for the film to start, waiting for previews.

Disney is asking kids to sit and be quiet and attentive and not have to go to the bathroom for three hours straight. Most kids can’t do that. Most adults struggle, too.

We heard from co-workers that their screenings last weekend were chaotic. People were bored by “Olaf” and pulling out their phones. By the time “Coco” arrived, they were shuffling in their seats, leaving to take kids to the bathroom, talking, getting more snacks, pulling out their phones again, telling the people in front of them to “put away their phones” or “shut the @#$%! up.”

Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), who struggles against his family’s generations-old ban on music, creates a secret space where he can play his guitar and soak up the on-screen talent of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt), in “Coco.” Contributed by Disney/Pixar

It’s too bad. From all reports, “Coco” is a fabulous film. My husband will admit he cried twice. My 14-year-old daughter will admit that her eyes might have watered once, maybe twice. Yet, they had to sit through 21 minutes of a Christmas special that didn’t need to happen.

Bring back the actual short, short, Disney and Pixar. We loved “Lava” before “Inside Out,” which was seven minutes long. We even loved the “Moana” short “Inner Workings,” which was six minutes long. And who can forget four-minute-long “For the Birds,” which came before “Monsters, Inc.”

We can’t wait for “Coco” to be on DVD or streaming. Then we can fast forward through “Olaf,” pause when we need a bathroom break or to look at our phones. Disney, you just gave families another reason to stay home from the movie theater.

RELATED: Here are the theaters showing “Coco” dubbed in Spanish

 

 

Doctors, be careful what you say to children who are overweight, says new American Academy of Pediatrics policy

Kids and their parents do not want to be told they need to lose weight.

Their doctors might actually be encouraging weight gain if they aren’t careful about how they talk to their patients who are overweight — so found American Academy of Pediatrics research that has been turned into a policy statement.

Austin doctor Stephen J. Pont, who is an assistant professor at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, is the lead author for this policy statement.

The MEND program at the YMCA of Austin teaches families how to have fun exercising while encouraging them to make healthier choices.

Doctors have a lot of learning to do about child obesity and the science behind it, Dr. Pont says.

One positive step is the Academy creating a section on obesity and helping to develop new tools — many of which have been tested in Austin — including developing better approaches to creating behavior changes.

Dr. Stephen Pont is an assistant professor at the UT Dell Medical School and helped develop the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy on obesity.

Childhood obesity is a big deal. The new policy statement lets us know that one-third of U.S. children are considered overweight and 17 percent are obese. It’s the most common chronic condition our kids have.

The policy looked at the stigma behind being overweight and the effect it has on our kids. It found that kids as young as 3 already have experienced weight-based stereotypes. By elementary school, weight-based stereotypes are common.

Children who are overweight or obese have weight-based stigma re-enforced through many sources: peers, teachers, parents. It also comes from media. A study of recent children’s movies found that 70 percent included weight-related stigmatizing content and 90 percent targeted a character that was obese. Kids’ content is also more likely to have content that stigmatizes a character around weight.

The policy notes that kids who are overweight or obese:

  • Are more likely to be bullied. One study of kids who were seeking weight loss, found that 71 percent had been bullied in the last year about their weight.
  • Are less likely to be offered help if they are bullied.
  • Believe they will have more friends if they can just lose weight.
  • Become disengaged in school academically and socially.
  • Have worse quality of life scores than children with cancer.
  • Are more likely to be suicidal. In fact, adolescence who have been teased about their weight are twice as likely to have thought about suicide or attempted it.
  • Are more likely to engage in self-harm.
  • Are more likely to engage in unhealthy eating habits such as emotional eating or binge eating or develop an eating disorder.
  • Are given lower expectations for academic success by their teachers.
  • Are teased by their parents. That same study of kids entering a weight loss program found that 37 percent had been teased by their parents in the last year.

The most interesting thing the policy statement notes is that people might believe that by shaming children about their bodies, it will inspire them to lose weight. Instead, it actually has the opposite effect.

One of place children often feel stigmatized is in a health care setting like their doctor’s office.

In one study of women who are obese or overweight, two-thirds reported that a doctor has stigmatized them because of their weight. Another study found that doctors believe that obesity means that a patient will be noncompliant to medical advice, hostile, dishonest or have poor hygiene. They saw obese or overweight patients as lazy, less intelligent and lacking self-control.

Because of that feeling doctors gave them, obese or overweight patients were less likely to get preventative care. These women were skipping mammograms, pelvic exams and other cancer screenings.

Researchers also found cases where patients who did seek care from their doctors were then denied care, or not given size-appropriate medical equipment.

In kids, the policy writers found that doctors used hurtful language to refer to their patients, including calling them fat, obese or extremely obese. Instead doctors should use words like weight and unhealthy weight.

“Some of that comes out of frustration on the medical provider’s part,” Pont says about what language doctors use. “They should partner with the patient rather than telling them what to do. They should always believe in the patient.”

Skip the guilt, blame and judgment, Pont says.

Why does it matter what words doctors use to let patients and their parents know that their weight is not healthy and should be addressed?

Doctors can be part of the stigmatization problem.

Kids who have been stigmatized will then exercise less in the future and will feel less confident in their physical abilities to do exercise.

One study looked at girls who are overweight. Those who had been stigmatized about it had a 64 percent to 66 percent increase in developing worsening obesity.

In another study, kids who were teased had a worse BMI 15 years later than their peers who were not teased.

What does the policy want doctors to do?

Be professional and nonbiased.

Choose their words wisely including using “people-first” language. A child with obesity rather than an obese child.

Document obesity as a medical diagnosis.

Create behavior change that is specific to that child and child- and family-centered. That means they create their own goals, not ones that doctors create for them.

Create a physical environment in their office that fits different body types. (Think about those narrow chairs in the waiting room or too narrow exam tables.)

Do a behavioral health screening. Is there more than just the weight? Is there a mental health component, too.

Be better trained about weight stigma in medical school and residency as well as in continuing education courses. Doctors, Pont says, “don’t have the tools to address it.”

Doctors are interested, though, he says. It’s one of the most requested topics doctors ask for in continuing education.

“We need to recognize that obesity is very complex,” Pont says.

Instead of thinking about a short-term fad diet, doctors and their patients need to think about long-term changes that are doable, and discuss weight and making changes in a way that is sensitive.

“A teenager has taken a long time to get to where they are,” Pont says. Providers and families need to think about working together for a long time. Pont likes to start out with one, small doable thing such as cutting out sugary drinks and then build on that success, but he always lets families decide what it is that they want to try doing.

Above all, it should be positive and not about blame and guilt. He encourages parents to go out of their way to praise kids when they make good choices.

It also should be about the whole family, not just the kid who has been singled out because of his or her body mass index.

The key message for doctors is to “be nice and be patient,” Pont says. “It’s going to take time. It’s not going to change quickly and happen overnight,” but the more enjoyable they can make the visit, the more encouraging they can be, the faster and healthier the patient and the family will be.

New research done in Austin helping more women get and stay pregnant

Couples trying to get pregnant, there’s even more hope on the horizon. At the recent American Society for Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress & Expo in San Antonio, doctors and scientists presented their research. Seven of those studies were being done here at Texas Fertility Center.

“We’re excited about what we’re doing,” says Dr. Kaylen Silverberg. He likens get accepted to present so many of their findings as like getting all of your college acceptance letters back with a “Yes.”

New research done in Austin is helping more women achieve pregnancy. Photos.com

He walked us through some of what they’ve found. Sometimes, he says, “it reinforce that what we’re doing is right,” he says. Other times, with the advancement of science, they found a better way of doing things.

In an international study, they looked at what is the value of doing genetic testing on embryos. Could they see before implanting an embryo if it would be chromosomally normal? Yes, by doing a preimplantation genetic screening, they determined they could see all 23 pairs of chromosomes and rule out abnormalities.

Does that mean those embryos will grow up to be normal, healthy babies? Not necessarily, he says. There are many things we still don’t have a genetic test for, but for parents who have lost babies or a family member to a chromosomal abnormality, they now have a chance to screen for that abnormality and only have embryos implanted that don’t have that abnormality.

Dr. Kaylen Silverberg of the Texas Fertility Center

Another study also looked at the embryos to determine which ones were viable. Sometimes after the embryo has been sitting in a incubation solution for 18 hours, lab technicians won’t like what they see. They’ll be looking for two pronuclei in that embryo to signify that it’s a healthy embryo. “Sometimes is not so clear cut,” Silverberg says. “It doesn’t have two pronuclei. It has one or zero.”

Up until this point, they would throw those embryos away. In a study, researchers kept cultivating those embryos to see if anything would happen.

What they found was that 40 percent of those embryos that would have been thrown away, actually grew into normal embryos, he says. They just needed more time.

Another study helped doctors determine when the right time to implant an embryo into the uterus during in vitro fertilization will be. For years, doctors were arbitrarily choosing the sixth day after beginning progesterone as the day to implant the egg. “Why does that make sense?” Silverberg says they began asking.

Looking at embryos before implanting them is giving women better odds for healthy babies. Texas Fertility Center

Now they can better determine when the embryo and the endometrium will be better in sync by doing a biopsy of the endometrium in advance.

Doctors have a woman go through the hormonal cycle for in vitro one month before actual implementation. They will then take a biopsy during that cycle on day six and send it to a lab in Barcelona to analyze her endometrium to see if it was ready to accept the egg. If it was, the next month, they would implant an egg on day six. If it wasn’t, based on the endometrium’s levels, they might try to implant on day 5 or give her more progesterone and implant on day 7 or 8.

Through this study, they determined that only 40 percent of the endometrium were ready on day 6.

Doing the extra cycle and biopsies, might cost an additional $700 than not doing them, but that’s well worth it, Silverberg says, if it ends in a pregnancy and not a wasted embryo because the woman’s body wasn’t ready to receive it.

RELATED: IF INFERTILITY IS NOW A DISEASE, WHY DOESN’T INSURANCE COVER IT?

In another study, they looked at the luteal-placental shift, that’s when the placenta takes over progesterone production to sustain the pregnancy. Before that the corpus luteal, the part of the egg’s follicle that remains after ovulation, is the main supplier of progesterone.

Women who have been implanted with an embryo rather than becoming pregnant on their own receive progesterone and estrogen during the first trimester to make her body able to carry the embryo. Doctors were wondering when it is that the body will take over.

By monitoring hormonal levels in 262 women who had a frozen embryo transfer, they were able to determine when the luteal-placental shift happened and make recommendations of how long to give each hormone. They found that women should receive estradiol replacement until at least seven weeks gestational age and progesterone replacement until at least eight to nine weeks gestational age.

This knowledge can help reduce miscarriages in women whose babies were perfectly normal, but the moms had a low progesterone level, Silverberg says.

RELATED: MOTHER SHEDS LIGHT ON DARK TIMES OF MISCARRIAGE

All of this research is helping more women become pregnant, Silverberg says. It’s also cut down on the multiple pregnancy rates because now they feel more confident about the quality of the embryo and the readiness of the woman’s body to receive it and nurture it for nine months.

“Our patients are anxious to enroll in any study,” he says. They see it as a way for them to give back to the progress that is being made.

“It’s a great time to be doing infertility medicine,” Silverberg says. “There’s so many advances.”

RELATED: TWO WOMEN AND THE BABY THEY MADE TOGETHER

RELATED: WHEN THE NEXT STEP IS A SURROGATE, EGG DONOR

RELATED: WANT TO GET PREGNANT? COULD YOUR WEIGHT BE HOLDING YOU BACK?

Start a new family tradition with these Austin holiday events

Our list of fun holiday events for families in Austin keeps growing every year. Check out these events that are sure to create memories.

Holiday events

The Zilker tree will be lighted on Nov. 26. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

Chuy’s Children’s Giving to Children Parade. Bring an unwrapped new toy to donate to Operation Blue Santa while you see the floats go by. Free. 11 a.m. Saturday.  chuysparade.com

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

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

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. thundercloud.com/turkey-trot

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. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Hunt. Buy Christmas trees beginning Nov. 24 242 Monkey Road. evergreen-farms.com

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

Santa’s Arrival Holiday Celebration. See a tree lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa with fireworks. 6-9 p.m. Nov. 24. Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd. hillcountrygalleria.com

 

 

EmilyAnn Theatre Trail of Lights. 6:30 p.m. 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25-Dec. 28. Free. EmilyAnn Theatre 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org

Mozart’s Christmas Light Show. 6-11 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters at Oyster Landing, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.

The ice skating rink at Whole Foods opens on Nov. 24. Jay Janner/American Statesman

“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. thelongcenter.org

Whole Foods Skating on the Plaza. Go ice skating 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 24 through Jan. 15. Closed Christmas Day. $10 per person. Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. wholefoodsmarket.com

“The Elves and the Shoemaker.” For ages 5 and up. 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. 3 p.m. Dec. 2, Central Library; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Spicewood Springs Branch; 10:30 a.m. Dec. 5, Terrazas Branch; 10:15 a.m. Dec. 7, Windsor Park Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 8, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Hampton Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Twin Oaks Branch; 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13, Willie Mae Kirk; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 13, St. John Branch, Dec. 14; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Old Quarry Branch.

Zilker Tree Lighting. Live music and your first chance to take a spin under the tree this year.  6 p.m. Nov. 26. Zilker Park. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

Driskill Hotel Tree Lighting. See the grand tree turn on in the lobby. 6 p.m. Nov. 28. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. driskillhotel.com.

Teddy Bear Tea. Tea, caroling and a reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” with Santa. Bring an unwrapped new teddy bear to donate to Dell Children’s Medical Center. While you’re there, don’t miss the gingerbread village. $30-$45. Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17. Four Seasons Hotel Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. Make reservations by calling 512-685-8300. fourseasons.com/austin

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit of the Americas. See lights, go skating, enter the petting zoo and Santa’s workshop and more. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Dec. 1-2 and 8-30, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. $16, plus additional fees for some activities. circuitoftheamericas.com/winter-wonderland.

“A Christmas Carol.” 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Through Dec. 17. $8-$10. EmilyAnn Theatre 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org/productions

Alamo Drafthouse events: Kids Camp: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 10 a.m. Dec. 2-3, 12:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10, Lakeline. 10 a.m. Dec. 2-3, Slaughter Lane. PBS Kids Holiday Mix. 10 a.m. Dec. 9-10, Lakeline. drafthouse.com

“Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.” Junie B. is ready to take on her nemesis May in this holiday story. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 16. $10-$15. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org

“The Muppet Christmas Carol.” See it in IMAX. 1 p.m. Dec. 2. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Elf Academy. Train to be Santa’s best elf. 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Domain. Reserve your spot at simonsanta.com.

Get your children’s picture taken with Santa. You can reserve your spot at the mall or find Santa all over town.

Skate with Santa. Yes, Santa ice skates and you can skate with him. Noon-2:30 p.m. Dec. 2. Skating and admission is $14 per person. $2 pictures with Santa or bring two non-perishable food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. Chaparral Ice, 2525 W. Anderson Lane. chaparralice.com.

Breakfast with Santa. A light breakfast, crafts, a singalong and Santa. 9-11 a.m. Dec. 2. Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road. 10 a.m. Dec. 9. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane. austintexas.gov

Santa in the Garden. Find your favorite jolly old elf among the plants. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec.2. Zilker Botanical Garden. 2220 Barton Springs Road. $1-$3. austintexas.gov

Holiday Ornament Workshop. Make ornaments with things found in nature. Noon-2 p.m. Dec. 2. $15-10. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Tea and Story Time with Mrs. Claus. 10:30 a.m.-noon Dec. 6. $10 a child. Peeps Christmas Story Time. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 7. Free. Pictures with Santa. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 8. Elf Visit. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13. $10. Holiday Sing-along with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 15. $10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Caring Santa. Meet Santa in an autism-friendly way. 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3, Barton Creek Square; 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 3, Lakeline Mall. Reserve your spot at simonsanta.com.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: A Historic Holiday. Make Pomanders, putz houses and historic board games. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3. Free. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org

Hideout Theatre Presents: “Monster Holidays.” 2 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 17, 23 and 30. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.org

Luminations. It’s back. See the Wildflower Center outlined in luminarias. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 7-10. $15. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Friday Movie Matinee “Home Alone.” 3 p.m. Dec. 8, Old Quarry Branch.

Austin Trail of Lights. 6-10 p.m. Dec. 9-23. Free admission Dec. 9-14, Dec. 18-19. $3 other nights. Zilker Park. austintrailoflights.org.

Zilker Tree. The tree will be lighted every night from Nov. 26-Dec. 31. Zilker Park. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

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: Frosted. Free. 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 6. Reservations required. domainnorthside.com

Story time with Mrs. Claus. 11 a.m. Dec. 9. Hill country Galleria Central Plaza Pavillian. hillcountrygalleria.com

Winter Fest. 10 a.m. Dec. 9, Yarborough Branch.

Holiday Open House. 11 a.m. Dec. 9, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; Noon Dec. 9, Pleasant Hill Branch; 1 p.m. Dec. 9, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. Dec 9, Manchaca Road Branch.

Bradley Tredway, 7, made a colorful gingerbread house at the Bastrop Public Library open house event in 2013. There are many spots to make a gingerbread house in December.
SARAH ACOSTA/AUSTIN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS

Thinkery Gingerbread House Workshops. Traditional or Tot (ages 5 and younger) 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., Dec. 9-10, 16-17, 23; 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 18-22; and 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. Dec. 24. $12 per person plus $20 house kit. Gingerbread Art and Architecture for ages 7 and older. 10:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 16-23; 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 24. $12 per person plus $30 house kit. Candy Chemistry for ages 7 and up. Make candy to go on your house. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-24. $12 per person plus $30 house kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Gingerbread House Workshop at The Candy Jar. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17. $50 per house, children younger than 6 must have an adult with them. The Candy Jar, 12700 Hill Country Blvd. Suite 110. Register at https://thecandyjartx.com/

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8-9, 15-16, 19-22 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 16-17, 22-23. $15-$98. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“Holiday Heroes.” Zach Theatre’s annual Christmas family tradition. 11 a.m. Dec. 2, Dec. 9. $18-24. Topfer Theater, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Gingerbread Villas. Make your own candy home. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 9. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

An Afternoon with Santa. Take photos, make crafts and eat cookies. 3 p.m. Dec. 10. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. driskillhotel.com.

Holiday Cookie Decorating Class. 6 p.m. Dec. 10, Windsor Park Branch.

Pictures with Santa + Crafts. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Cepeda Branch of the Austin Public Library.

Holiday Movie: “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Carver Branch.

Family Movie Night: “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20, Twin Oaks Branch.

The Carver’s Christmas Special. Celebrate Christmas with Santa at the Carver Museum. Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 16. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Night Before Christmas Break. Enjoy reindeer game and treats. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 21. Free. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St. austintexas.gov

Kwanzaa Celebration of Ujamaa with Elizabeth Kahura. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Austin’s New Year. A family-friendly New Year’s Eve party with events throughout the day. austintexas.gov

Looking ahead: Plan your December full of family events

December is filled with family fun, especially holiday themed. Plug these events in your calendar. Pay special attention to those weeks when kids are out of school and day cares might be closed. There’s a lot to do. Go out and do it.

Holiday events

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Ride a hay ride to the Christmas tree grounds and select your tree. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm. Buy Christmas trees through Christmas Eve. Noon to dark daily, except Saturdays, when it opens at 10 a.m. Weekends there’s s’mores making and pinecone painting, too. 242 Monkey Road. evergreen-farms.com

Trail of Lights. 6:30 p.m. 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Dec. 28. Free. EmilyAnn Theatre 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org

Mozart’s Christmas Light Show. 6-11 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters at Oyster Landing, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.

Brett Buchanan teaches his daughter Violet, 4, to skate at the Whole Foods Market on Lamar Boulevard earlier this year. The skating rink has returned. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Whole Foods Skating on the Plaza. Go ice skating 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. now through Jan. 15. Closed Christmas Day. $10 per person. Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. wholefoodsmarket.com

“The Elves and the Shoemaker.” For ages 5 and up. 3 p.m. Dec. 2, Central Library; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Spicewood Springs Branch; 10:30 a.m. Dec. 5, Terrazas Branch; 10:15 a.m. Dec. 7, Windsor Park Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 8, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Hampton Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Twin Oaks Branch; 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13, Willie Mae Kirk; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 13, St. John Branch, Dec. 14; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Old Quarry Branch.

Teddy Bear Tea. Tea, carolling and a reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” with Santa. Bring an unwrapped new teddy bear to donate to Dell Children’s Medical Center. While you’re there, don’t miss the gingerbread village. $30-$45. Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17. Four Seasons Hotel Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. Make reservations by calling 512-685-8300. fourseasons.com/austin

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit of the Americas. See lights, go skating, enter the petting zoo and Santa’s workshop and more. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Dec. 1-2 and 8-30, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. $16, plus additional fees for some activities. circuitoftheamericas.com/winter-wonderland.

“A Christmas Carol.” 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Through Dec. 17. $8-$10. EmilyAnn Theatre 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org/productions

Alamo Drafthouse events: Kids Camp: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 10 a.m. Dec. 2-3, 12:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10, Lakeline. 10 a.m. Dec. 2-3, Slaughter Lane. PBS Kids Holiday Mix. 10 a.m. Dec. 9-10, Lakeline. drafthouse.com

“Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.” Junie B. is ready to take on her nemesis May in this holiday story. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 16. $10-$15. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org

“The Muppet Christmas Carol.” See it in IMAX. 1 p.m. Dec. 2. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Elf Academy. Train to be Santa’s best elf. 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Domain. Reserve your spot at simonsanta.com.

Skate with Santa. Yes, Santa ice skates and you can skate with him. Noon-2:30 p.m. Dec. 2. Skating and admission is $14 per person. $2 pictures with Santa or bring two non-perishable food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. Chaparral Ice, 2525 W. Anderson Lane. chaparralice.com.

Breakfast with Santa. A light breakfast, crafts, a singalong and Santa. 9-11 a.m. Dec. 2. Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road. 10 a.m. Dec. 9. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane. austintexas.gov

Santa in the Garden. Find your favorite jolly old elf among the plants. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec.2. Zilker Botanical Garden. 2220 Barton Springs Road. $1-$3. austintexas.gov

Holiday Ornament Workshop. Make ornaments with things found in nature. Noon-2 p.m. Dec. 2. $15-10. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Tea and Story Time with Mrs. Claus. 10:30 a.m.-noon Dec. 6. $10 a child. Peeps Christmas Story Time. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 7. Free. Pictures with Santa. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 8. Elf Visit. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13. $10. Holiday Sing-along with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 15. $10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Get your children’s picture taken with Santa. You can reserve your spot.

Caring Santa. Meet Santa in an autism-friendly way. 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3, Barton Creek Square; 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 3, Lakeline Mall. Reserve your spot at simonsanta.com.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: A Historic Holiday. Make Pomanders, putz houses and historic board games. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3. Free. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org

Hideout Theatre Presents: “Monster Holidays.” 2 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 17, 23 and 30. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.org

Luminations. It’s back. See the Wildflower Center outlined in luminarias. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 7-10. $15. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Friday Movie Matinee “Home Alone.” 3 p.m. Dec. 8, Old Quarry Branch.

Austin Trail of Lights. 6-10 p.m. Dec. 9-23. Free admission Dec. 9-14, Dec. 18-19. $3 other nights. Zilker Park. austintrailoflights.org.

Zilker Tree. The tree will be lighted every night from Nov. 26-Dec. 31. Zilker Park. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

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: Frosted. Free. 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 6. Reservations required. domainnorthside.com

Story time with Mrs. Claus. 11 a.m. Dec. 9. Hill country Galleria Central Plaza Pavillian. hillcountrygalleria.com

Winter Fest. 10 a.m. Dec. 9, Yarborough Branch.

Holiday Open House. 11 a.m. Dec. 9, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; Noon Dec. 9, Pleasant Hill Branch; 1 p.m. Dec. 9, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. Dec 9, Manchaca Road Branch.

Thinkery Gingerbread House Workshops. Traditional or Tot (ages 5 and younger) 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., Dec. 9-10, 16-17, 23; 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 18-22; and 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. Dec. 24. $12 per person plus $20 house kit. Gingerbread Art and Architecture for ages 7 and older. 10:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 16-23; 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 24. $12 per person plus $30 house kit. Candy Chemistry for ages 7 and up. Make candy to go on your house. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-24. $12 per person plus $30 house kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Bradley Tredway, 7, made a colorful gingerbread house at the Bastrop Public Library open house event in 2013. There are many spots to make a gingerbread house in December.
SARAH ACOSTA/AUSTIN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS

Gingerbread House Workshop at The Candy Jar. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17. $50 per house, children younger than 6 must have an adult with them. The Candy Jar, 12700 Hill Country Blvd. Suite 110. Register at https://thecandyjartx.com/

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8-9, 15-16, 19-22 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 16-17, 22-23. $15-$98. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“Holiday Heroes.” Zach Theatre’s annual Christmas family tradition. 11 a.m. Dec. 2, Dec. 9. $18-24. Topfer Theater, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Gingerbread Villas. Make your own candy home. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 9. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

An Afternoon with Santa. Take photos, make crafts and eat cookies. 3 p.m. Dec. 10. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. driskillhotel.com.

Holiday Cookie Decorating Class. 6 p.m. Dec. 10, Windsor Park Branch.

Pictures with Santa + Crafts. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Cepeda Branch of the Austin Public Library.

Holiday Movie: “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Carver Branch.

Family Movie Night: “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20, Twin Oaks Branch.

The Carver’s Christmas Special. Celebrate Christmas with Santa at the Carver Museum. Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 16. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Night Before Christmas Break. Enjoy reindeer game and treats. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 21. Free. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St. austintexas.gov

Elizabeth Kahura, of Austin, originally from Kenya, holds up a figurine as an example of teamwork during a Kwanza workshop held at the George Carver Public Library. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Kwanzaa Celebration of Ujamaa with Elizabeth Kahura. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Austin’s New Year. A family-friendly New Year’s Eve party with events throughout the day. austintexas.gov

Theater

“Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic.” Noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 23. $20-$55. Frank Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com

Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 11 a.m. Dec. 2, 9 and 16. More shows through Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road. zachtheatre.org

“Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” See the book come to life. 2 p.m. Dec. 3. $18 and up. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

Museums

Zilker Botanical Garden. Story time in the Garden: Naked Trees and the Other Four Seasons. A bilingual story time. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 14. $1-$3. Zilker Botanical Garden. 2220 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov

DeSTEMber Fest. Celebrate science and holidays with activities for the whole family. 9:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 2. Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org

Austin Nature and Science Center. Family Climbing Day. Go rock climbing as a family. 9 a.m. to noon, Dec. 20. $5 per person, ages 5 and up. Family Archery Day. Explore archery. 9 a.m. to noon, Dec. 21. $5 per person, ages 7 and up. Family Planetarium Day. 9 a.m. to noon, Dec. 22. Free, ages 3 and up. Austin Nature and Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. austintexas.gov/ansc

Bullock Museum.H-E-B Free First Sunday. Free family fun around the museum with the theme “Bundle Up.” Noon-5 p.m. Dec. 3. Living History Days. Re-enactors stroll through the museum. 10 a.m. Dec. 7. Little Texans: Take Flight. 10 a.m. Dec. 14. Science Thursdays. 10 a.m. Dec. 14. Maker Faire. Create things at the museum. Dec. 28-30. Story time at the Museum: Brrr! 10 a.m. Dec. 28. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Blanton Museum of Art. Holiday Family Day. Road-trip inspired activities. Free with admission. Noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 9. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. blantonmuseum.org.

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

Thinkery. Parents’ Night Out. Kids ages 4 and up play at the Thinkery while you see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.Dec. 1. $40 for first child, $20 each additional child. 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. Baby Bloomers. Learn all about winter. For infant to 3. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays, except Christmas Day. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Hill Country Science Mill. Homeschool Day: Game Development. All day, Dec. 13. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Wildflower Center. Winter, Wonder, Land. Find out what happens to a garden in winter. $15 adults, $10 children. Noon-2 p.m. p.m. Dec. 16. $15. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Toybrary Austin. Gardening Class. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Free. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Movies

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

“The Polar Express.”

Books

BookPeople story times. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesday. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays.BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: “Polar Express” Story time. 7 p.m. Dec. 1, all locations. 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Dec. 2; “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Big Golden Book,” Dec. 9; “River Rose and the Magical Christmas,” Dec. 16; “Santa’s Magic Key,” Dec. 23; “The Story of Ferdinand,” Dec. 30.

At the library

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie. 11:30 a.m. Dec. 1, 9, 16, 23, 30, Yarborough Branch; Mornings with Moxie. 10 a.m. Dec. 9, Manchaca Road Branch; Bow Wow Reading with George. 3:45 p.m. Dec. 13, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Saturday Movie Matinee: “Rogue One.” 2 p.m. Dec. 2, Windsor Park Branch.

Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. Dec. 3, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

The Contemporary Austin Presents: Glowing Aliens. For ages 3-5. 10:15 p.m. Dec. 5, Pleasant Hill Branch; 11 a.m. Dec. 12, Hampton Branch; 11 a.m Dec. 13, Old QuarryBranch; 4:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Twin Oaks Branch.

Sew Happy. 5 p.m. Dec. 5, Manchaca Road Branch.

Music & Movement. 11 a.m. Dec. 11, Pleasant Hill Branch; 11:30 a.m. Dec. 13, Manchaca Road Branch.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. Dec. 10. Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Crafternoon. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11, Manchaca Road Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Howson Branch.

NBTween Book Club One Half from the East.” 4 p.m. Dec. 13, Howson Branch. “Keeper of the Lost Cities.” 6 p.m. Dec. 20, Spicewood Springs Branch. “The Nameless City.” 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Twin Oaks Branch.

Graphic Novel Book Club. “Identity Crisis,” 7 p.m. Dec. 14, Windsor Park Branch.

Teen Book Club. “The Upside of Unrequired,” 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Spicewood Springs Branch. “My Lady Jane.” 6:30 p.m. Dec. 19, Howson Branch.

Night Builders: Family Lego Lab. 7 p.m. Dec. 14, Hampton Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Howson Branch.

Santa is coming this weekend to local malls

Not only will Santa be making his way down Congress Avenue at the Chuy’s Children’s Giving to Children Parade on Saturday, but by this weekend, he’ll be at all of the malls near you.

Get your children’s picture taken with Santa. You can reserve your spot.

Santa began showing up at Simon Malls, which owns Barton Creek Square, The Domain, Lakeline Mall and Round Rock Premium Outlets, on Nov. 3 at Barton Creek Square and will finally arrive at Lakeline Mall on Saturday.

Find him through Christmas Eve:

  • By JCPenney Court at Barton Creek Square
  • Across from iPic Theaters at The Domain
  • On the lower level Dillard’s Court at Lakeline Mall
  • In the Food Court at Round Rock Premium Outlets

And if you want to avoid the rush to get your photo taken with Santa, reserve your time slot at simonsanta.com.

Pay particular attention to these events, which have to be registered for in advance:

Caring Santa, which provides an autism-friendly experience:

8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3, Barton Creek Square

9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 3, Lakeline Mall

Pet Photo Nights — yes, you bring Fido or Fluffy for Santa to be photographed with, simon.com/petphoto

7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 12, Barton Creek Square

6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 12, Lakeline Mall

Train to be Santa’s best elf at the Elf Academy:

3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Domain

New Central Texas quintuplets on TLC’s in “Hodges Half Dozen” Tuesday night

Will you watch “Hodges Half Dozen” on TLC Tuesday night at 9 p.m.? The new show features Liz and Daniel Hodges, who this March had quintuplets Teagan, Connell, Liam, Nolan and Dillon. They also have older brother Rowan. The family lives in Temple, but the babies were born in Austin at Seton Medical Center.

Daniel and Liz Hodges, of Temple, along with their two-year-old son Rowan, hold their quintuplets, from left, Nolan, Liam, Connell, Teagan and Dillon, at Seton Medical Center Austin on Sunday July 23, 2017. Dillon was the last of the five babies to go home Sunday after spending four months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Central Texas quintuplets have found their way onto reality shows before. “Quints by Surprise” featured the Jones family — parents Casey and Ethan Jones and quintuplets Brooklyn, Britton, Jack, Lila and Ryan and their older sister Eliot.

The Wilkinson quints — Kyndall, Ryder, Rustin, Kaydence and Kassidy — and their parents Jayson and Rachelle and older brother Riley and sister Kaiya were part of a TLC special “Texas Quints.”

 

How to once again explain gun violence to kids after Sutherland Springs shooting

On Oct. 2, just a little more than a month ago, I was writing about how to explain the Las Vegas shooting to kids. Now, we have another shooting to talk about. This one at  First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs feels much closer to home. It’s just outside of San Antonio, just a little more than an hour away. And it’s in a house of worship, a place many of us go to seek comfort, where we bring our children to help them develop a moral compass.

 

Mona Rodriguez holds her 12-year-old son, J Anthony Hernandez, during a candlelight vigil after a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Last month, Jane Ripperger-Suhler, a child psychiatrist at Seton’s Texas Child Study Center, had this advice for parents about how much we should say about a shooting such as the one in Las Vegas or the one in Sutherland Springs.

We need to be careful about who is watching with TV with us and how we explain it.

“It really depends on the developmental level of the kids,” she says. Consider how you think your child will take what they see on TV, she says. “I wouldn’t watch a lot with preschooler.”

For kids already in school, you can watch some with them, but be prepared to talk about it and answer their questions. You can ask things like: “What do you think about this?” “What questions do you have?” Gage if they want to talk about it, but, she says, “I wouldn’t force them to talk about this.”

Dr. Jane Ripperger-Suhler is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Texas Child Study Center.

Explain things in the simplest yet factual way you can. You could say “A man shot some people at a concert. I guess he was upset about something,” she says. Or in this case: “A man walked into a church and shot people.”

You can focus on how you are feeling, that you’re upset and that you also don’t understand why this happened, but be careful about how you are reacting. “If a parent swoons or becomes frantic, a child is going to do likewise.”

Most importantly, remind kids that they are safe; that you will keep them safe, and when they are at school, their teachers will keep them safe.

If your child seems to be fixated on what happened in these shootings, you could encourage them to draw, build something or act something out, if they don’t want to talk about it.

If they don’t seem to be able to move on after a few days, are afraid to go to school, are too scared to go to bed, are having physical symptoms of stress or behavior problems, get them help sooner rather than later, Ripperger-Suhler says.

Be especially aware if a child has experience a trauma before. Watching this scene on TV will not cause post-traumatic stress disorder, she says, but it can be more traumatic and disturbing to some kids.

Ripperger-Suhler says it’s important to go about normal life. And that normal life means going to church on a Sunday.

If your child expresses some fear about it, reassure them that you will keep them safe.

 

20 not to miss things to do with the kids this weekend in Austin, Nov. 3-5

When it comes to gorgeous, this weekend can’t get much better. And when it comes to things to do with the family, it’s a weekend full of possibilities.

Here are 20 events you don’t want to miss. You’ll have to pick and choose because all of it can’t be done.

Head to the children’s tent of the Texas Book Festival.
Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour on Sunday.

  1. 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. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday Capitol grounds. texasbookfestival.org
  2. 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. Saturday. Anderson High School, 8403 Mesa Drive. $30. girlsempowermentnetwork.org
  3. The last weekend of Sweet Berry Farms and Barton Hill Farms fall festivals.Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.comSweet 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. sweetberryfarm.com
  4. Fall Festival and Star Party. It’s science and looking at the stars. 5-8 p.m. Saturday. Free. Austin Nature and Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. austintexas.gov/ansc

    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
  5. Thinkery. Parents’ Night Out. Kids ages 4 and up play at the Thinkery while you see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday. $40 for first child, $20 each additional child. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
    This weekend the Thinkery also has Baby Bloomers, from birth to age 3, learning about shapes. 9 a.m. Saturday. $5. Ages 4 and up can try Owl Pellet Dissection. See what an owl ate by looking at its poop. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday $8.
  6. Bullock MuseumH-E-B Free First Sunday. Free family fun around the museum. Noon-5 p.m. Sunday.  Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com
  7. Wildflower Center. Texas Arbor Day. Climb the trees in the arbor with harnesses. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
  8. Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: Printing techniques. Learn how to create a message using old-fashioned techniques. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Free. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org
  9. First Saturdays at the Carver Museum. Enjoy family events. Free. Noon Saturday. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov
  10. “Bot Party 3.0.” It’s a robot game show. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $14-$20. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
  11. Hideout Theatre Presents: “Block Heads,” improv based on Minecraft. 2 p.m. Sunday. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.org
  12. “Pinkalicious: The Musical.” The book comes to the stage. 2 p.m. Nov. 5. $18 and up. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org
  13. Big Don Kid Show. It’s a hip-hop storytelling show. 10 a.m. Sunday. Cherrywood Coffeehouse, 1400 E. 38th 1/2 St.

    “Pinkalicious” by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann
  14. Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 11 a.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road. zachtheatre.org
  15. Celtic Fest. Music, dance, animals and Highland games. Noon-7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $15 adults, kids 12 and younger free. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive. austincelticfestival.com
  16. Toybrary Austin. Fairy Party. Make fairy crafts and more. 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday. $10 a child. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
  17. Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Bruce’s Big Move.”
  18. “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” For ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. Saturday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.
  19. Día de los Muertos. 10:30 a.m. Friday, Central Library. 3:30 p.m. Friday, Hampton Branch.
  20. Saturday Family Movie: “Boss Baby.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Windsor Park Branch.