Friday, July 31, 2015

10 To-Dos Before School Starts

Okay, so the back-to-school commercials were out before the kids here in the Northeast were even OUT of school (and, by the way, Halloween merchandise has been in the stores around here for at least two weeks). But with tomorrow being August 1st and many institutions of higher learning starting before Labor Day, it may be time to turn a tiny portion of our parental brains toward the first day of school because many things will not wait until that fateful day. 




 
So here are 10 suggestions of things you might want to handle on sooner rather than later:


  1. Scheduling the kids yearly physicals and eye exams. If you haven't made an appointment with your pediatrician, you're behind the curve already! According to my doctor's office, phone calls started flooding in back in Spring, so bite the bullet and schedule one for your child today. I usually wait until Fall anyway so I can get the kids their flu shots with their physicals. Eye exams tend to be less pressing, so I never have trouble getting them in to see our beloved optometrist; the problem then becomes fitting the appointment in with the kids' busy schedules.


  2. Check your school supplies closet/drawer/basket – whatever. I've wasted plenty of money buying supplies I already had (what am I gonna do with 50 Office Depot erasers). Make a list of what you already have so you can bring it when you go back-to-school shopping. 


  3. Clean out last year's backpacks. In June, my children gleefully throw their backpacks into the closet and don't want to see them for the next two months. Sneak a peak and see if you can salvage any old supplies. I grab any notebooks containing blank paper and I use them for my writing and lists; pencils and pens go into pencil cups around the house; markers are placed in Ziploc bags for arts and crafts projects; and old smocks get washed for use next year. As for old, broken crayons, there are thousands of websites on the Web with ideas for how to re-use them (ThriftyFun is one), but even if you're not crafty, you can send them away to the Crazy Crayons where they'll be recycled and not wind up in landfills.  Oh, and if you need guidance on how to choose a backpack for the upcoming year, read this.


  4. Inspect old backpacks and lunch sacks. I bought these reusable sandwich/snack bags (see below) at Walmart last year. They're washable and can be used from year to year. Similarly, unless a lunch sack has last year's favorite TV character or band, see if you can sell your kid on the concept of re-using it by updating, perhaps by letting them draw on it or adding a glue-on patch. Honestly, with my kids living in their backpacks throughout the school year, their old backpacks aren't usable from year to year, BUT they do make great library bags, gym bags, and can be hung in their rooms to hold stuffed animals, etc. 




  5. Take look at their Fall clothes. In my area, it's HOT the first few weeks of school. No matter what the commercials on TV show, they do not need new sweaters on the first day of the academic year. Sure, I'll buy both kids new sneakers (because they ALWAYS need them) and will buy Diva one new shirt just to make her feel special, but otherwise, they're not getting new outfits unless they really, truly need them.


  6. Make any before-chool purchases you need to. Sometimes you need to pre-order lunches and supplies. Check your school's website for information.


  7. Send any musical instruments out for tune-ups (pun intended). My son plays the clarinet and every year we have it sent out for cleaning. That way it's pristine for Band in the Fall. Oh, and if your child will be starting to play an instrument, now is the time to shop around for the best rental price.





  8. Document the Summer while it's fresh in your mind. If you're waaaay behind in your scrapbooking like I am, make a list of what the kids did this summer so you can remember when you finally do get around to ordering your photobooks (or doing it by hand like I do). It's too easy to forget the nuances of the Summer.


  9. Stock up on anti-lice shampoo and/or conditioner.  Kids come back from camp with those critters and even if your kids haven't gone, there's ALWAYS a lice outbreak every fall. I swear by Fairy Tales conditioner! My daughter has long, lush hair and even when she was exposed to lice by a neighbor's kid who literally had bugs crawling in her hair, Diva never contracted it. Fairy Tales smells like amazing; it contains rosemary, citronella, tea tree, lemongrass, peppermint, sage. School nurses SWEAR by this stuff and so do I!



     
  10. Stock up on clothes and footwear for next Summer. This stuff is on sale now to make way for Fall and Winter merchandise. If you have a sense of how much your child will grow over the course of the year (the Teen is a crapshoot), now is the time to buy flip flops and bathing suits in a bigger size.


And, of course, enjoy the rest of the Summer!  Your children will never be younger than they are now. All too soon, they'll be out on their own. Have fun with them while you can and cherish almost all the moments (because, let's face it, not all are rainbows and lollipops) with your kids.




Happy Rest Of Summer! 
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Here's How To AVOID Bed Bugs

It's vacation time and many of us are looking forward to enjoying the many amenities hotels offer. 


But they also increase our risk of bringing home an infestation of bed bugs.





I can tell you from personal experience that bed bugs are no laughing matter! Several years back, unbeknownst to us, my late father-in-law had them in his apartment. I remember sleeping in his spare bed one night and feeling itchy, as if a hoard of mosquitoes had attacked me. I looked on the sheets and between the mattress, but saw nothing. The next night, the same thing happened again. 



The itching woke me up and the scratching left me with sore, bleeding legs.


We, of course, brought bed bugs home and the itching continued. I thought maybe my legs were dry, so I moisturized them. It was no help. I looked everywhere – between the mattress, in our clothes, in our luggage – and never did see them. I postulated that my reaction was due to allergies or the new laundry detergent we were using. A decade later, my husband told me that shortly after we'd gotten back from his Dad's and while I was going crazy trying to find the source of my itching, he had found the bed bugs stationed on the side of our mattress. I had seen them, too, but thought they were just dirt since they looked like brown and gray specks. He'd vacuumed the entire room and thrown the vacuum bag out. He'd decided not to tell me because he knew I'd flip out (EXCELLENT CALL).


We were lucky because a bed bug infestation can cause thousands of dollar to eradicate. Most of the statistics I found on the number of reported bed bug cases were quoted by extermination companies which, of course, have a vested interest in their eradication, but municipalities across the United States and world wide agree that bed bugs infestations are on the rise: in some cases, dramatically! 


No, they do not spread disease, but once you've been affected by these critters, you will NEVER forget it! So what can you do?

  • Investigate the hotel before you check in. Heck, I even look it up before I make the reservation! My favorite sources for this data are BedBugRegistry.com and Raveable.com  but TripAdvisor  often lists this info as well. Be aware, however, that just because a hotel is flagged as once having bed bugs, does not mean they still have them. And one that has not been flagged may, in fact, have them. These critters are fluid, moving with people and their belongings. Their presence is not an indication of how clean or dirty an establishment is. 

  • Minimize the amount of stuff you pack – You know how your kids always want to take more toys and clothes than they'll ever need? This is the time to say “no.” The less stuff you bring, the fewer items you'll need to worry about later on.

  • Try to pack your items in resealable plastic – There are many manufacturers of resealable bags that are large enough to pack clothes in. Place your clothes, etc., in those and then place the bags inside your luggage. 

  • ALWAYS inspect your hotel room BEFORE you move in - When you enter the room, put your luggage in the bathroom where bugs are less likely to hide, take a flashlight (download the Tesla light from the Google Play Store if you have an Android) and check the perimeter of the bed, between the mattress, around the headboard, etc. Also check chair cushions, drapes, etc. Here's a nice article and checklist with more details on how to conduct a hotel inspection.



When you return home, place all travel materials in a separate space, like the garage. Wash and dry all clothes worn on the trip. If possible, place the luggage in the dryer, which you've set on high, for about 20 minutes. Many stuffed animals which cannot be washed can usually also be put in the dryer for 20 minutes. Leave shoes outside until you've had a chance to inspect them. Yes, this is colossal pain, but preventing a problem and the peace of mind is worth it!
 

“Bed bug proofing” products are becoming more common and easier to find.  Various en casements for mattresses are available at Costco, Amazon, and department stores. You can also buy heaters that you can use to treat non-washable items in case you don't have a dryer or access to one. Although there are a lot of sprays readily available, I haven't seen any convincing evidence that they do much good and , besides, who needs toxins in your environment, especially if you've got kids around? For a list of products that might help keep you safe from bedbugs, click on this article I found on the website brickunderground.com.


For more information, visit:

  • Thisoldhouse.com  – This article lists how to prevent and treat a bed bug problem.
  • Spcweb.org – Yes, this is the site for pest control company, but the checklist is handy if you suspect you may have a problem.
  • Vdac.virginia.gov – This fact sheet from the Virginia Department Of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences is a nice, calming, source of information on bed bugs.
  • Dhhs.nh.gov – A less calming, but still informative sheet from the New Hampshire Department Of Health & Human Services serves a reminder of where else you should check for bed bugs, like your car and trains.





Performing due diligence before and while I check into a hotel may be a pain, and may even make you feel silly, but I'm figuring that if I ever do bring bed bugs home again, it won't be due to carelessness.  


Better to make the efforts to prevent an infestation than deal with one. Try these steps, use these resources, and, hopefully, you'll never experience the trauma of bed bugs in your home!



THANK YOU FOR READING!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

5 REAL Uses For Coffee Grounds – I Tried Them Out!

There are multiple websites and tons of pins on Pinterest touting the many benefits of coffee grounds. Some work, some do not. For example, several sites say that used coffee grounds repel ants. Not the ones I saw crawling over the grounds I'd spread in my porch. I think I even saw one scoop some into a teeny weeny cup.




So for my benefit and yours, dear reader, I decided to wade through the mounds of “Uses For Used Coffee Grounds ” and let you know which practices are true which did and did not work, at least for me: 
 

  1. Use To Scrub Pots And Pans - Yes, using a handful of grounds does substitute for toxic abrasive cleaners, BUT coffee grounds can also clog your sink!  If you're going to try this, do the scrubbing on a towel or some newspaper that you can clean without flushing the grounds down the sink.



  2. Use Coffee Grounds As A Household Deodorizer – Yes, you can place some in a jar or dish to absorb odors from refrigerators and freezers, BUT you can also put a bowl of them in a musty basement or garage to help with smells. And, they're great at the bottom of trash cans (especially in the bathroom) to get rid of those nasty odors!



  3. Plant Food – It's true that rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, and evergreens love acidic soil. I collect my grounds in a used coffee can (of course) and sprinkle them around my rosebushes. They love the grounds and I love the roses! 



  4. Shoe Deodorizer – Junior's sneakers are an environmental hazard, so I grab a pair of old knee-high panty house, filled each sock with coffee grounds, and place them in each sneaker. Okay, so the odor doesn't fully disappear, but at least now I don't want to pass out each time I pass Junior's shoes.



  5. Use When Shopping For Perfume Or Cologne – The last time I went to Bed, Bath & Body Works, my daughter and I had a blast trying on new scents. Unfortunately, it was difficult to really get a sense (pun intended) of the new scent when the old one was still in the air and on our arms. I had packed a tablespoon of coffee grounds in a little Ziploc bag and we took a whiff of the coffee between fragrances. The coffee scent actually cleared our noses of the previous smell.

Coffee grounds are one of those substances I always look at and think, “they HAVE to have more uses than just for coffee” and they do. 


Some work, some don't, but if you drink coffee and you have the grounds around anyway, why not try some of the uses above? They worked for me!



Thanks for reading!






Note:  Photos are courtesy of Pixabay.



Sunday, July 12, 2015

BOOM! I Ran Right Into This One!

I've written before about how I'm navigating the waters of the teenage years (read my 6 Rules To Help The Teen This Summer . And while these rules still apply, every year, Junior changes and I am forced to change with him. 


All Images From Pixabay



Earlier this year the Teen hit the 
I DON'T WANNA Stage.
 

Every time I ask the Teen to do something, no matter how innocuous, he rolls his eyes as if I'm asking him to remove one of his lungs and wails, “I don't wanna.” When I persist, he resolutely defends his position (“the garbage doesn't need to be taken out yet” or “why vacuum when the carpet is only going to get dirty again?”). It's reminiscent of the Terrible 2s. It takes a litany of “just do its” and a little threatening (that iPad WILL be mine) before anything gets done.


This year, I left Junior's summer activity up to Dad. My teenager has outgrown our town's summer camp, but he needed to do something. After a lot of arguing which I, blissfully was NOT a part of, my son and his father agreed that the teen would attend the YMCA's 3- Week Teen Travel Camp; it had a lot of activities Junior wanted to do (rock climbing, laser tag, outings to water parks and baseball games) with the clincher being one of my son's friends was signing up. After paying the $1,500 fee, the Teen was in.


Well, not so much. There have been mornings I've still had to argue with my late riser, since he gets up at noon if left alone, that YES, he has to go to Teen Camp. He packs his stuff, asks me for money for additional snacks, and after I drop him off, I don't hear from him until later in the day when he needs a ride home. Sure, he could walk, but he's “too tired.” He's had quite a few arguments with dad about going the next day because he doesn't like the activity. Dad has one every argument with the “but we paid $1,500 for you to go and by God, you're going.” Camp has been supplemented with lots of wonderful get togethers with his teenage friends and sleepovers.


We'll see what happens in two weeks. Camp will be over and he'll be biding time until our summer vacation and the start of Marching Band Camp at the end of August. We had the Teen's bike professionally tuned up and got him a bigger bike helmet since apparently his brain grew.

  
I am digging my heels in that I will NOT be driving him hither and yon. You want independence, fine. Here are two wheels to take you there. 


I fully understand the I DON'T WANNA Stage, just as I understood the Terrible Twos. There's a realization that life isn't fun all the time; we need to do things that just need to get done in order to survive. I'm glad my teenager tells ME and his father that, rather than teachers, coaches, or camp counselors who know him as an agreeable kid (!!). The I DON'T WANNA Stage, which I also call the Lazy Schlub Stage, is normal, even if it's a force to be reckoned with.


One day soon I will miss my son – but not this period of time. 




~~~ 


Thank you for reading!  And please visit my other blog, Mom's Crayon!



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Connecticut Kindergarten Form Asks Parents If They Had Vaginal Births Or C-Sections: Why Ask & Why Answer?!


Seizing my attention recently was this New York Times article which told of the Aiken Elementary School in West Hartford, Connecticut and one of the questions on its application for kindergarten: 




In the article, Cara Paiuk tells of her outrage that this question is asked. How intrusive!  How personal!  She followed up with school officials  as to why the question was asked.  They replied that they're looking for any signs of birth trauma so that if an administrator perceives any problems with the child (learning, behavioral), the nurse could pull up the kid's chart to look for clues to the problem. School officials were also surprised because apparently, Paiuk is the first person ever to challenge this question. 


As the mother of a biological child and one who was adopted, all I can say is, “Wow!” The NERVE of those administrators!


Sure, a physician is entitled to ask that question or, perhaps, a counselor, but THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM?! There are many factors that can contribute to behavioral problems and birth is only one. It is not for the schools to ask that, but medical and psychological professionals. 

Seriously? Are we 
THAT conditioned to filling out forms that 
we provide ALL the information asked, no matter how intrusive 
it is! 

Do we mindlessly fill out forms without thought as to why those questions are being asked, what will be done with the information provided, who will SEE that data (insurance companies, employers), and what the long-term ramifications of providing that information might be?!


I don't know what kind of birth my daughter had; there's no way to find out and, honestly, I don't care. Any mild issues that have occurred with her were a result of fatigue or just her normal stage of development that we had trouble dealing with.  No one ever asked or even questioned whether it was because she was adopted. We've dealt with who she is, not where she came from. 


It is not up to school administrators to diagnose on their own. Any behavioral problems, I feel, require a team effort with parents, guidance counselors, teachers, and medical/psychological professionals all weighing in. 


As for those school officials and anyone who doesn't see what the big deal is about the question, my gut feel is that no administration likes to have its feathers ruffled. It's easier to say, “it's always be there” or “we've always done that” than to change the system when someone points out a flaw. 


Hopefully, the publicity this issue has raised will prompt other schools (private, public, pre-school, etc.) to periodically LOOK at their forms to see if they make sense.


And let's remember that it's up to US to look at what we're filling out, what we're signing, what kind of information we're giving away and, sometimes, leave the line blank. 





Monday, July 6, 2015

My New Toy & Why It's SO Cool


When I re-entered the workforce part-time, in addition to helping with the household expenses, I decided to treat myself to something special. Would it be jewelry? Clothes? No. I have enough of both. But there was one thing that had been in the back of my mind for some time.


Now, our kitchen is small so our refrigerator is, too. Freezer space is always limited, especially in the summer, what with ice pops and ice cube trays taking up a lot of space. I sip cold drinks CONSTANTLY and always keep ice water on my nightstand.  So my new toy is (drumroll, please):


AN AVALON BAY PORTABLE ICE MAKER


 





Yeah, sexy, I know. But I wanted one to help keep me cool during the summer. After researching all of the portable machines out there, I was convinced that this was the unit for me. 


The pros:

  1. It's portable, so I can bring it outside for use during a BBQ.
  2. It makes ice that is just soft enough for use in smoothies that it doesn't kill the blades of the
    blender.  It's also great for snow cone machines.
  3. I always have ice on hand. I just make ice the day before I need it, place the ice in a Ziploc freezer bag and it's great for the next day.
  4. The ice it makes is the perfect size for drink and to put in a water bottle.



The cons:

  1. It doesn't keep the ice frozen, so you do have to place it in the freezer, but any ice not used just melts back into the reservoir.
  2. It takes a while to make a good amount of ice. I've had it running about 2 hours now and the ice contain is full.
  3. While it has two sizes of ice, I honestly don't see much of a difference in size. Not a problem for me, but just an FYI.




All in all, this is a great machine. I was even more comforted when my daughter came home from school one day and said her school nurse had the same machine – school nurses KNOW quality. 


I'm using my Avalon Bay Portable Ice Maker every other day and I love it!


During a recent BBQ, it filled up a good-sized cooler. Now there's no scrambling with ice cube trays.


It's SOOO COOL! Now excuse me while I go back to my nice, cold drink!





What do you sip to keep cool during the summer?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Adoptive Parents: How Would YOU Have Handled This?


“Mom, Mrs. Craftson wants to talk to you.” As my child announced this upon dismissal from school, I was a little nervous. Mrs. Craftson NEVER wants to talk to me. Turns out, I need not have worried. 


“We're going to be discussing immigration and having Immigration Day next week. How do you want me to handle it?” 


She asked me that because my daughter is adopted and the teacher was showing sensitivity to Diva's background. Still, it caught me off guard.






Since my daughter is Chinese and the rest of the family is not, it is readily apparent that she is adopted. She and I have given school presentations on it over the years, enlightening students as to what adoption is and answering any questions the children might have. Diva is proud of her Chinese heritage and readily talks about her background. After thinking for a moment, here was my response to Mrs. Craftson's question:


“When you're discussing immigration and family trees, please mention that families come together in many ways, so immigration is about your family's background, no matter how your family was formed.”


Diva came home a few days later and asked what her heritage is, besides being Chinese. That started a wonderful conversation about my background and that of my husband. When she needed to dress like an immigrant, she chose to be someone from Italy because, she said, “That's where our family's ancestors came from.”


 
It wasn't that she'd forgotten her background; rather, she was embracing our entire family's origins. 




Blood may determine genetics, but I don't believe it determines who is in your family.  So many of my friends are FAMILY to me.  Diva belongs to me, no matter how she came to be mine. 


Every once in a while I, as the parent of an adopted child, get thrown a curve ball, something that parents of biological parents to not experience (I know because I also have a biological child). I've found that tackling the question head on, and emphasizing that families DO come together in many ways is the best way to handle heritage questions. Adoption is an amazing way to grow a family and I'm delighted that the educators I've met thus far are sensitive to the feelings of adopted children. 





So, do you think I handled this correctly?  If not, what would you have done?


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"You Want What?!" Why I Bought The Teenager THIS


My teen is a pretty low-maintenance guy who doesn't ask for a lot. Hell, he'd had holes in his sneakers for two months before we even knew he needed new shoes!  Thus, when he does ask for something, I usually get it for him. But I was not prepared for this request: 


“Mom, can you get me a kazoo?”

Huh? Kazoos are toys, silly things that go in goodie bags. I “accidentally” break them because they're so annoying. It is played by singing or speaking through a tube. This activates an air current that causes the membrane to vibrate and results in a nasal sound. It's so easy to play that toddlers can do it. But the teen wasn't asking for liquor or cocaine so off I went, searching through the house for one. I eventually wound up buying the damn thing at a music store that sells serious musical instruments.


Which brings me to the question: is a kazoo an actual musical instrument?


Apparently it is! I only learned this because shortly thereafter, Junior played me some kazoo music from an amazing musician named Tsuko G. Check out one of his YouTube videos:




Okay, so it's not Beethoven. Tsuko G plays mostly video game music, but it's actually good. 


This instrument of derision, known for its silly sound and found mostly in novelty music, circuses, and carnivals has its origins in the African mirliton. It was made out of the horn of a cow with the membrane consisting of the eggshells of spiders (source). The kazoo was patented in the U.S. in the 1900s and there's actually a Kazoo Museum in South Carolina. 


What's fascinating about the kazoo (two words I would never have thought could go in the same sentence) is how it allows all sorts of musical instruments to be imitated. The soprano kazoo can mimic a high-pitched flute while the alto kazoo can sound like a clarinet or trumpet. Similarly, the tenor kazoo resembles the sound made by a saxophone, the baritone version mimics a french horn, and the kaboom kazoo can sound like a tuba. 


My son has been playing his kazoo for about two weeks now. Some of it is silly stuff, parts of songs that find their way into his head. But some pieces are ones he plays on his clarinet and they sound quite nice. I've woken the kids up to kazoo music ("Reveillee") while Junior somewhat tenderly played his sister a lullaby which ended on such a silly note that it had us all giggling.


I'm glad I indulged the Boy in his request for this little $1 instrument. It's given us many hours of pleasure, both silly and non. Who knew a kazoo could bring one family such joy.



What do you think of kazoo music? 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

8 Tips For Surviving Your School's Fair


This evening, I'm sitting in a lawn chair parked in front of my daughter's elementary school. After seven hours of being cooped up learning on this lovely Summer day, she sprinted back to school for this, the event of all events, The Spring Fair. This annual gathering promises an evening of delight complete with inflatables (water and dry), a tiny train, carnival games, crafts, and the opportunity to cavort with her friends.





I'm less enthusiastic. Because she is my second child, it's my 10th year at this fair and they haven't changed the line-up in all of those years. So as I sit in my chair, let me share


8 Tips For Surviving Your School's Spring Fair


1.  Review With Your Child That They Are ONLY To Go Home With You (or whomever you designate). Our community is pretty safe, but I don't want Diva thinking that if she can't find me she can leave with someone else. Stress this before you even GET to the venue. 


2.  Prepay if you can. I ordered armbands the day they were announced. Kids are so excited by the prospect of fun, fun, fun that all they want to do is run off. Save yourself trying to find exact change with a hyper child by your side, grab a pre-paid armband, and set your kid free. 


3.  Set Up A Base Camp So They Can Find You.  If your child is old enough that you don't have to follow them, set up a base camp, preferably near some sort of reference point like a big rock, tree, bush, window, etc. Tell the kid where you're going to be and stress that they MUST check in periodically. They'll have to anyway if they want to buy food.




4.  Bring Cash.  Don't kid yourself that you're going to get away without buying anything at this event. Sure, you can bring all the organic, GMO-free stuff you want, but all that will happen is that your child will either A) wind up staring at his friends who are eating pizza or B) begging their friends or you for the crap they're serving. Bring water and maybe a snack or two, but resign yourself to the fact that you WILL be buying something. 


6.  Sit AWAY From The Loudspeakers.  For some reason, PTA people and school personnel don't like telling disc jockeys and entertainers that they're TOO FUCKING LOUD and that the noise level is GOING TO MAKE OUR KIDS HARD OF HEARING. Make your base camp away from the speakers and you can mitigate hearing loss for the both of you. You might even have a prayer of talking and listening to other parents.

7.  Be Prepared For A Tantrum When You Leave.  Understand that if you try to drag your kid away from the event before it officially ends, you're pitting yourself against a tired, wired-up kid who IS going to have a tantrum. Fortunately, it will probably be so loud there that no one will hear you arguing.

8.  Enjoy! The time is coming when you'll be dropping your kid off at an event and you won't get to see them having fun with their friends. Take some photos when they're not looking and remember how they look now. They'll only be this little once. 



We're home, and the Fair is now a memory. After being covered in foam and having her hair sprayed red and white, she's upstairs recuperating. Watching her have a blast was wonderful for me; I wouldn't have traded it for anything. Use these eight tips and you'll get through the Fair with a minimum of problems and, hopefully, a good amount of pleasure!


THANK YOU FOR READING! 

Yeah.  That's me...right....





Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Mom's Guide To Comic Book Shows

I recently wrote about my experience at Special Edition NYC, a “pure celebration of comic book culture created specifically for die-hard comic book fans, creators and publishers” for The Geek Parent (read it here). I basically went because I'd never gone to a show like that before because, honestly, I'm just not into comic books. But I figured, if I truly am a geek parent, I should probably see what all the fuss was about.  It's good to try new things. 




Special Edition NYC was, according to an acquaintance who is a comic book aficionado, the perfect show to “cut my teeth on” since it's considered a relatively small show, as opposed to the various Comic Cons.  Also, the tickets were pretty cheap; it cost all of $30 for a Sunday pass. (I won't mention how much the tolls into the City and parking were, but going into NYC ain't cheap!


Even though I attended as an unofficial member of the media, I couldn't help but evaluate the show from a mom's perspective, especially since there were a fair number of kids under the age of 16 there. So, if you're considering taking your child to Special Edition NYC or a similar show, here's what you need to know: 


The Pros:

  • Special Edition NYC was extremely organized. Each person who worked there knew where the various lines, panels, and exhibitors were. Considering that I was insecure because I was certainly not in my element, this was refreshing!

  • The artists and writers were incredibly nice. These are professionals who are passionate about what they do. I especially enjoyed meeting artists John Trumbull and Rey Arzeno who both seemed to be doodling but were, in fact, effortlessly drawing amazing works of art while they chatted with me about what being an artist is like.  These guys are PASSIONATE about what they do and watching them would be fun for any kid.


    John Trumbull
    Rey Arzeno


  • There were lots of cosplay people (people in costume) there and a sign up reminding the rest of us to ask before you took a cosplay's picture. This is common courtesy, but the reminder was certainly appreciated. The cosplay people were even kind when I admitted that I didn't know who they were dressed up as.



     



  • There were panels that kids would certainly be interested in. Some were just fan meet-ups and autograph sessions, others involved engaging topics like how the writers get their ideas and how to pitch your comic books series to publishers.  I wanted to go to one on transgender characters in comic books (they've been around for ages), but didn't have the time.

  • Security was not checking bags, so you could easily bring food in for your kids to avoid spending a fortune.  Now I don't know if this is true for all shows, but it was a plus at Special Edition.

  • The vendors, too, were great. One in particular, the dashing Robert Quill, gave a really funny pitch as he explained his line of “Kreepsakes – Not Your Grammy's Cameo” which featured creepy, glow-in-the-dark pictures.


    Robert Quill and his "Kreepsakes"


The Cons:

  • The target market for many of the comics is young males, so there were MANY drawings of scantily-clad women and, indeed, some of the cosplay people were in skimpy costumes.

  • There are plenty of violent and scarey comics, so there were PLENTY of horror-type posters up.

  • While there weren't' many people there on Sunday, I understand that Saturday was packed. Before you go to a show, you may want to ask around which day is better.


    Photo From Special Edition NYC

All in all, Special Edition NYC was a lot of fun! 


It was...different and I'm glad I went. I may even pick up a comic book or two the next time I run across one. And I'm delighted with the souvenir I bought from Out of the Toy Box Jewelry. It's a necklace of the Jetson robot, Rosie, which is serving as a reminder to my family that I am NOT their maid!


Take into account my pros and cons and think about whether you'd take your child to a comic book show. It will definitely be an experience you won't forget!


Just for me:  Rosie from the Jetsons!


Thank you for reading!