Kids (86)

Bouncers Welcome

Everybody remembers the excitement we felt as children when entry into the most fun place on earth was imminent. It could have been located within a state or county fair, or even in a well-off friend’s back yard. What is that place? The gravity-defying, backflip-trying bouncy house, of course. Parents watching their kids literally jump for joy in those inflatable fun zones have been known to shake their heads and chuckle, reminiscing on a time…

Better Safe than Sorry

You can see it in the fascination on their faces as an emergency vehicle wails by, and in their choices of toy cars, one of which almost always is an ambulance, police car, or fire engine, if not all three. They ask you what the people in the vehicles are doing and are satisfied that certain adults do heroic things for work. Kids love emergency vehicles. The folks at Westbrook Public Safety well understand this,…

Look alive: STRIVE for 5

It’s something every expecting mother and father ask themselves: What if our child is born with developmental disabilities? How will I feel? What will we do? And, should it eventually come to pass and be confirmed (usually before the age of 22), the parents, universally as far as we’ve heard, feel the same overwhelming and everlasting love for their child, teen, or young adult as they did the day the baby was born. And what…

It Starts with Tapping Your Toes

While it is true that an inordinate number of Portland youths are mostly sedentary, quite a few are not. Among those enthusiastic youngsters, some are lucky enough to have supportive parents and the opportunity to develop a physical skill, beyond everyday play. When play is organized, every sport is an arena of such skills. Ball-handling skills, passing accuracy, and shooting under duress are three examples from basketball alone. The self-engineered stamina and endurance of long-distance…

Can You Make it to the Olympics

Have the words “Don’t you want to grow up big and strong?” ever left your lips? Were you caught in a moment of shock sitting at your own dinner table immediately after, not believing your own parents had the magical ability to speak through you like that? The whole spiel, diet and exercise, has been ingrained in Americans’ heads for generations. It isn’t going away. Whether the old cliche inspires your kids to eat their…

The Acro-Cats March into Town

Remember the Guinness Book of World Records? One guy ate a bicycle, piece by piece, made small enough to swallow with a hacksaw and some elbow grease, to get in the Book. Another lady had fingernails so long that they spiraled in on themselves so that she couldn’t do something as simple as pick up a fork to eat. And who could forget the 500-pound twins on those tiny dirt bikes?   We don’t know…

There's No Place Like Home

Judy Garland. If you didn’t fall in love with her as a kid, you have a friend that did. It’s been awhile since we were at our grandparents’ house at Thanksgiving time, but back then, that’s when you caught it on TV: The Wizard of Oz. Brothers, sisters, even parents would have a curious conversation about how MGM organized so many small people actors, and how did the visual crew do such a good job…

Have You Ever Heard a Who?

“I would not eat them in a box. I would not eat them with a fox.” This and many other rhymes are instantly recognized by adults and children worldwide as the words of Theodor Geisel, the incomparable Dr. Seuss. His playful lines and phantasmagoric art style brought many of us into the world of reading for the first time. “Let me read this time, Dad!” Today, many writers or painters would tell you that their…

Last Chance Railroad

Portlanders who live paycheck to paycheck, and have friends and relatives who have to move to Westbrook or farther because their in-town living situation has changed and nothing is open to the poor in Portland, those residents might have a sour view of the gentrification and development our city is currently undergoing. On the other hand, people who have a little extra on hand might be happy that the place is getting better-looking. However you…

Nine Pizzas Around the Sun

Most readers will remember when the International Astronomical Union got together in 2006, consulted whatever oracles of science they hold dear, and told the rest of us that the planet Pluto had officially been demoted to ‘dwarf planet’ status. Depending on your age and interests at the time, the news item was anything from a major upheaval in your knowledge set, to a quirky two-minute phase in that season’s dinner conversation.   But if you…
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