Parents June 2021

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editor’s note

Farewell School, Hello Sunshine EVERY YEAR, when I walk outside on the first warm day of spring, I have a five-senses memory of my own last weeks of school. For an instant, I can swear it’s time to lug my history books out to the backyard and cram for a final (note to future teens: outdoor studying does not work) or file into a sweltering gym for a goodbye assembly. In elementary school, my principal, Mr. Buckley, ended each year with a heart-tugging photomontage honoring the graduating fifth-graders. The images changed from year to year, of course, but the music was always “The Wind Beneath My Wings” followed by “You’ve Got a Friend” and Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game” (“And the seasons, they go round and round …”). Parents sniffled quietly in the…

your guide to making the days easier and the journey sweeter

Pop Art Score major “cool dad” points with the chillest eye candy: homemade ice pops that sneak in colorful gummies. We used Airheads Xtremes—the soft texture freezes like a dream and packs a rainbow-striped, sweet-and-sour wallop. To make them, drop several chewy candies into ice-pop molds, making sure they’re evenly dispersed along the sides, then fill with coconut water, lemonade, or flavored seltzer (anything to balance out the sugar high of the candy). Slide the molds into the freezer and let set until frozen, about four hours. You may want to make extras; if you’re tempted to have your own, no shame! IF YOU ASK ME “How can I deal with ‘momsplaining,’ you know, when moms tell you how to raise your own kids, presumably just because you’re a guy?” One dad’s take (no…

erin napier

Recent parenting win Helen has been totally potty trained for several months. Recent parenting fail She watched Band of Brothers with Ben. (But! She did cheer for the good guys!) My parenting superpower Knowing when Helen’s making bad choices because she’s just tired, not because she’s misbehaving My parenting kryptonite Giving her what she wants because she says, “I love you so bad, though, Mommy” Best time of day When she wakes up in the morning wanting kisses Worst time of day 7 P.M. if there’s been no nap that afternoon Meals I make that the fam loves Fried rice, spaghetti and meatballs Meal I tried that the fam rejected Ben rejects nothing. Helen hates mashed potatoes, even homemade ones. I feel like a cool mom when Helen asks to watch videos of bluegrass bands or Russian ballet. I…

the wild, wild mess

HELP THEM THRIVE IN EVERY WAY IF YOU’VE SEEN the look of pure bliss on the face of a 6-year-old splashing in a puddle, you know that a little mess can bring a lot of joy to a kid. The truth is that getting wet or sticky is also a component of healthy development for children. “Think of messy play as turning on your child’s brain,” says Meghan Fitzgerald, a former elementary-school principal who founded Tinkergarten, an outdoor education program with locations in every state. “When they’re covered in mud, they’re seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling the mud. All of their senses are activated, and their neurons are lighting up.” However, if kids are deprived of a chance to get messy, they can have trouble tolerating certain textures, which may contribute…

how climate change affects allergies

PLANT SMARTER. “Make sure you’re not growing allergenic plants such as oak, juniper, and birch trees,” says Dr. Bernstein, interim director of Harvard’s Center for Climate, Health, andthe Global Environment. Growing hypoallergenic plants like coral bells and smooth hydrangeas can help reduce pollen exposure. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology ( has guides for selecting plants. REMOVE PROBLEM PLANTS. It can also help to get together with neighbors to eliminate allergenic plants in your yards and neighborhood. Allergenic trees and shrubs can be simple to tackle in one go. Ragweed is also a major pollen producer. (Careful: It looks a lot like goldenrod, which is nonallergenic and worth keeping.) It tends to be widespread and harder to manage, but even taking out some can make playtime more comfortable. Instead…

icebox cakes to the rescue!

Chocolate-Chip Cookie Icebox Pie Active Time 25 minutes Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes, including 6 hours of refrigeration Makes 10 servings INGREDIENTS 2½ cups heavy whipping cream¼ cup packed plus 1 Tbs. light-brown sugar1¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract1 18.2-oz. pkg. chocolate-chip cookies (such as Chips Ahoy! Family Size)¼ cup mini semisweet-chocolate chips MAKE IT 1. Beat cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until starting to thicken, about 1 minute. Raise mixer speed to medium-high; beat until medium-to-stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. 2. Spread about 1½ cups of the whipped-cream mixture on the bottom of a 9-in. pie plate. Top evenly with a single layer of cookies (all facing up), breaking cookies as needed to fill any gaps and create a solid…