Signing Smart--Sign Language for Infants and Toddlers

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Learn how and when to sign with your baby or toddler to improve communication! Join us at the Traverwood Branch on Saturday, March 27, 2010 from 11-11:45am as Kathy Brady of Signing Smart guides you and your young one through games, songs, and other activities that make learning signs fun and easy.

Parent Magazine Update -- Good for You

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This month's parent magazine update focuses on things that nourish the soul and body, starting with my personal favorite -- books.

Book Links magazine starts with some interesting articles on multi-platform books -- books that include online components. The popular 39 Clues series is a great example of this innovative genre, as is the Skeleton Creek series for teens. Also featured in this issue are series books that are good for reading aloud -- The Porcupine Year, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, and The Runaway Dolls for example -- and books about young artists, along the lines of Peter Reynolds' classic The Dot.

Mothering magazine has its own list of recommended books -- "visually sophisticated" picture books. Though he isn't mentioned in the article David Wiesner would be my personal recommendation in this category. This issue also features lots of other good-for-you stuff -- foods to boost the immune system, ways to foster creative play indoors and an article about celebrating your daughter's menarche in a supportive and empowering way.

Teens and Adoption: Books, magazines, meetings

Issues of identity and social life can complicate adolescence for adopted teens. Fortunately for families, there is lots of information at the library and support in the community. Check out Adoptive Families magazine in which the March-April issue has the article "Between Worlds" by Fran Eisenman. In Ann Arbor, a new group is beginning for adopted teens, "Connections," co-led by an adoptive mother/psychologist and her 22 year old daughter. The group will be a place to reflect on challenges, opportunities, relationships and adoption. For details, call Kristine Freeark, 668-0140 or email kfreeark@gmail.com.

Find the Right Preschool for your Family

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Preschool Expo will be held at the Palmer Commons on the campus of the University of Michigan, 100 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor on Sunday, March 7, 2010 from 1:00-4:00pm. Representatives from over 50 preschools will be on hand to answer your questions, share promotional materials, and show examples of some of the great activities going on at their schools. This event is free and open to the public! What a great opportunity to learn about many preschools, all in one place. This event is sponsored by the Ann Arbor District Library, Child Care Network, U of M Work/Life Programs, and Washtenaw Success by Six.

Parent Magazine Update -- Inspiration Information

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I hope you feel rested and refreshed at the end of this holiday season. On the other hand, if you feel like you used up all your creative energy picking gifts and planning activities, January's parent magazines have tools to inspire and inform you.

The Horn Book Magazine is a great guide to the best inspirational tools on the planet -- books! This issue contains an interview with children's author Margaret Mahy, an article in defense of fanfiction (an under-appreciated genre in my opinion), and of course, abundant book reviews. The editors' book picks this issue include Imogene's Last Stand, wordless picture book The Lion and the Mouse,Crossing Stones - a teen novel about World War 1, and graphic novel The Storm in the Barn.

Working Mother Magazine features some inspiring portraits of successful career women, with a bio of White House deputy chief of staff Mona Sutphen and an article by Lynn Blum, the founder of resale shops Once Upon a Child, Plato's Closet and Clothes Mentor. On the more serious side of things, Working Mother also covers recent changes in custody settlements brought on by an increase in stay-at-home dads, with suggestions to minimize the effects of divorce on children.This issue also contains tips on keeping track of your teenager, and some tasty-looking one-dish recipes. I think that "Vegetarian Paella" and "Chicken Olive Tagine" sound pretty inspiring, don't you?

Helping Hands -- Parent Magazine Update

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It takes work to be a responsible parent, or even just a responsible adult. This month's parent magazine update focuses on magazines that give advice -- because we all need a little help now and then.

Home Education Magazine has advice for any parent who wants to be a little more involved with their child's education -- including an article on the National History Day contest, a guide to running a book club for boys, and a list of good books for teaching teens about money.

Working Mother Magazine features a list of the 100 most family-friendly companies to work for, a guide to purchasing life insurance, and an article on how to rid your home of scary chemicals often found in paint, upholstery and even toys.

American Baby Magazine provides a guide to recognizing signs of autism spectrum disorders in children and seven tips for managing tantrums.

Doulas Care

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Who uses a Doula? Thankfully, women with limited resources from all over Southeastern Michigan can have a Doula guide and support them during pregnancy and delivery. Studies show that women who use a doula in childbirth minimize both the need for medication and risk of getting postpartum depression. You can read up on the subject AND attend an event Friday November 20th at 7pm to raise funds for this worthy cause at Cobblestone Farm. Call 734-332-8070 for more information.

Frank Talk About Sending Your Kid To College

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Sending your child to college can be an enormous challenge. What is it really like? Bring your questions about the process to this program at the Downtown Library on Tuesday evening at 7pm, where Community High counselor John Boshoven will moderate a panel of local mothers - all of whom have had children in college - for a frank and informative discussion.

Toys, Tweens, Pies and Trees -- Parent Magazine Update

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The magazines on our parent shelf are taking on the world, and they can take you along for the ride.

Parenting: School Years starts out strong with an article on how to enjoy your child's "difficult" tween years, and just keeps on swinging with a special Mom Congress report on the necessity of art education, a guide to family hapiness, and their picks for "toys of the year."

Coincidentally, Family Fun Magazine also features their Toy of the Year Awards -- number one is Klutz's "Invasion of the Bristlebots", a kit for making robots out of toothbrush heads. The magazine continues with an article on blogging as a family, a list of fun Thanksgiving activities, and five unique pie recipes for those bored with the same old pumpkin-from-a-can variety.

Gifted Child Today tackles some serious issues in their fall edition -- a guide to involving children in caring for the earth, an article by Dr. Gilman W. Whiting, director of the Scholar Identity Institute on reducing dropout rates among diverse students, and a guide to identifying signs of Asperger's syndrome-- an Autism-spectrum disorder.

If all this makes you want to roll up your sleeves and dive in, great! These great ideas and more are just a trip to the magazine rack away.

Helpful and Heartwarming

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Get ready to have your heart warmed and your wallet emptied. The October edition of American Baby magazine is out -- featuring an article on adoption and the 2009 American Baby Best of the Year Awards.

In the article, three women talk about the experience of placing their children with adoptive families through open adoption, which enables the birth mother to choose the adoptive family and stay in contact with them after the adoption takes place. This year's Amby award honors such useful products as Boppy as well as the interestingly named Boudreaux's Butt Paste.

Also included in this issue are a baby naming guide to help you overcome common pitfalls, and a "cough decoder" to help you diagnose your child by sound.

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