Parents October 2021

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Meredith Operations Corporation
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editor’s note

I KNEW I’D RELIED on the same weeknight supper rotation for too long when my then 6-year-old turned to me mid-bite—a look of mild disgust in his eyes—and said, “Mommy, I’m done eating pasta.” He paused, then added: “Forever.” How did I get to a place where one of the most popular and plainest dishes gets cut from my child’s “approved foods” list? My interest in cooking has always ebbed and flowed; I go through bursts of intense weekend meal prep and weeknight pot stirring, followed by longer stretches of improvising with peanut-butter sandwiches, cereal, scrambled eggs, and takeout. My home-chef instincts were at an all-time high when my older son started solids. I made fruit and vegetable purees, combined them in distinct flavor profiles, froze them into cubes, and created a meal…

your guide to making the days easier and the journey sweeter

Street Cred Make your birthday kid’s eyes light up even before they see what’s inside the box. Start by packaging the gift in solid-colored paper. Then crisscross two strips of black chalkboard tape or duct tape around the present to make it look like two intersecting roads. Draw lanes with a white-paint pen, and pop a car or two on top (keep them in place with a bit of heavy-duty double-sided tape). Now you’ve got something wheely cool for the younger set. / IF YOU ASK ME / “How young is too young—and how old is too old—to trick-or-treat?”Three parents, no wrong answers “Too old? Easy. Thirteen. Thirteen-year-olds can dress up. Celebrate. Have a little backyard party. But when I see a teenager dressed up next to a 6-year-old at my door, both asking…

party animals

Funky Skunks WHAT YOU’LL NEED ScissorsWhite and black faux fur (9x12-in. Craft Fur Long Pile, $3.50 each; hoodie sweatshirtHot-glue gunVelcroSafety pin MAKE IT 1. Cut a strip of white fur that’s about as wide as the top of child’s head. The length should reach from the top edge of the hood to the bottom of the hoodie. 2. With the fur draped over the hoodie, make a mark in the center of the fur, about where the shoulders begin. Cut out a narrow triangle from that point downward to the bottom edge, forming two strips. 3. Hot-glue the fur, starting under the center edge of the hood and letting it trail down the back of the hoodie, tacking down all the edges. 4. Cut a circle of white fur; attach to front of hoodie with Velcro. 5.…

fright bites

Mummy Bagels Split 2 bagels in half and toast. Spread each half with a light coating of cream cheese. Place about 5 oz. cream cheese in a resealable bag and snip off a corner. Pipe the cream cheese back and forth over each bagel half; gently run a butter knife over strips to flatten slightly to resemble bandages. Using 8 candy eyeballs, place 2 on each bagel half. Makes 4 servings. Ssssinnamon Rolls Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pop open one 7.3-oz. can of 5 refrigerated cinnamon rolls and separate them; reserve icing. Working with one at a time, unravel each roll and fold one end ½ in. under. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Shape and twist to form snakes, lightly pinching the folded end…

welcoming max to the neighborhood

AFTER TWO years of working with experts, members of the autism community, and a writer on the spectrum, the creators of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood introduced a new friend last spring. Max, Teacher Harriet’s nephew, is the first classmate with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Viewer input played a key role in Max’s creation, says Chris Loggins, supervising producer at Fred Rogers Productions. “We got a lot of feedback from children with autism and their families about how the show helped them,” Loggins says. “We wondered, ‘How can we be responsive to this? Maybe one way is to have a character who has been diagnosed with autism.’” In addition to bringing representation to the show, Max offers lessons for neurotypical kids who have questions about ASD. When he keeps talking about buses, Teacher Harriet…

when your 6-year-old thinks they’re fat

MOLLY, A MOM of two in Washington, D.C., didn’t expect the F-word to come up at a rehearsal for her daughter’s dance recital. But during a break, 5-year-old June came over and said, “Rosie saw me in my costume and asked me why I’m so fat.” Molly’s heart sank. “It could have been a neutral question, but it sounded like a judgment,” she says. “Especially because Rosie is a slender white child and June is Black and at the time was a bit bigger and rounder than the other kids in her grade.” You probably assume that body-image anxiety is something you’ll be dealing with in middle school. But 34 percent of girls are already restricting their eating by age 5 so as not to get fat, according to a 2015…