How to Do City Putt!

 

My boys and I went to City Putt in New Orleans City Park and despite a few hiccups, which had to do with heat, humidity and sibling rivalry, we had a ball (pun intended). The facility is clean and attractive and it’s a fun outing plus you and your kids can work on hand-eye coordination and math skills. You can buy beer and wine, (along with water, soft drinks and tea) at the concession cart, which could help to calm your nerves when your kids have no more game and they start calling each other names. You can also host a birthday party or corporate event there. Go – and heed these recommendations:

Play one course. There are two 18-hole courses at City Putt. One is the Louisiana Course with holes named for cities and regions in the state and the other is the New Orleans Course with holes named for streets and neighborhoods in the city. We played both but sometime after the 27th hole and after we took this shot with Mr. Bingle everyone fell apart. It was hot and humid (a point driven home by the fact that this giant snowman was sizzling to the touch), so both courses may be more doable when it’s cooler or at night.

 

Play the Louisiana Course. Both courses are good and similar but Louisiana seemed a little less crowded (maybe because it’s starting hole is hidden away on the left), a little more varied and a little more spread out. Having said that if you’re looking for a little more kitsch (ie boiling seafood pots, Louis Armstrong and Mr. Bingle) then the New Orleans course is your gig. Neither have swirling windmills or castles with moats but both have clean, challenging but doable holes with new turf and a range of obstacles. Both are scenic with streams, greenery, trees and sculptures. And both have misters on every hole and festive New Orleans-themed music piped in.

Older kids will like it more. My 10-year-old loved it and wanted to keep score and play for real. My 8- year-old liked it but had had enough half way through the second course. He also accidentally hit me in the nose with his putter when he put a little too much back swing into his putt after he couldn’t get a ball up and over a hill. (Nothing broken or seriously injured but it hurt! I cried. He cried. Then we all kept going). I spied a 3 or 4 year old out there with his dad, who was chasing down balls, hunting down left behind putters, and picking his child out of the water. I’m not sure if they had fun but it didn’t look like good times to me. Then again, I got hit in the face with a putter and had fun so I guess there is something to be said for just being outside spending time with your kids.

city putt collage

 

Go when it’s not crowded. Some outings are more fun when more people are around but I think this is probably a good one for an off-day. The day we went we didn’t have to wait for a hole and could take our time finishing out. If you felt rushed by the people behind you or if you were standing around waiting for your turn it might not be quite as much fun. Call the desk at (504) 483-9385 to get a reading on crowds.

Overall — A fun outing. Cost: $32 for 3 of us to play two courses plus $5 for water and ice tea.

playtime – starring your child

I opened my daughter’s backpack last Friday to an explosion of purple, green and gold. ‘Tis the season for Carnival and Valentine’s Day, which means that my walls and refrigerator will be decorated with the latest and greatest seasonal art for the next two weeks. But how interesting that red and pink adorn the hearts and cherubs that I see. Is that my daughter’s choice or someone else’s? What about your children? When they express interest in painting or coloring a heart, do you instantly take out the red or pink markers or is there a choice?

Whether art projects or open-ended exploration, allowing children to make choices during playtime leads to greater flourishing. Parents need to take a step back, become less directive and let go of the need to control. Your child will not be doomed to a life of failure if she takes the top off of the shape sorter and puts all of the blocks inside or the doll baby is wearing shorts on its head.

You may feel the need to direct, correct, or show them the “right” way, but by doing so, you are stifling creativity and exploration. Parents who are highly directive make the decisions about how to play, what to play and how quickly to play. As a result, their children harbor negative feelings, especially if the parent is not affectionate. The child may think that they are being controlled, which doesn’t sit well with any child OR adult for that matter!

Children hear us nibbling at their ears all day long… pick up your toys, brush your hair, get dressed, buckle up. Isn’t playtime the one time during the day when we can parachute out of our helicopters and allow for more choice? They don’t need us hovering. They need time to be creative and imaginative.Here are three easy things that you can do to ensure a pleasant, choice-filled play experience for your child:

  1. Allow for symbolic play. Children use play as a way to make sense of the world and experiment with different social roles. If the firefighter is wielding a spatula instead of a fire extinguisher, let it go! This may be a difficult one for parents who want things clean, orderly and put in the proper place, but you will be giving your children time to explore, master their environment, build competence and work out social norms.
  2. Find different paint colors. I see this in a lot of classrooms I visit. The art project is to marble paint a heart, so the teacher puts out pink and red. What if your child wants to make a black heart? Allow choice. When your child expresses an interest in coloring or painting, make sure that you offer a wide range of color choices.
  3. Look for loose ends. It’s not the most expensive toy, but the crinkliest wrapping paper that is most fascinating to young children! They love to play with loose ends — items that don’t have a specific purpose. Fill a bin with shoelaces, scarves, bottle caps, buttons, rocks or king cake babies and let the kids play. When children play with toys that only have one function (press the button and Elmo laughs), play ends more quickly.

Choice builds autonomy – one of the essential ingredients to psychological fulfillment. Feed your child’s brain today by giving them choice at playtime.

Comment and let me know your ideas for flourishing play!

Will you walk with Amelie in Audubon Park on November 10th?

“Mommy, why is there sugar in my ear?” Seven-and-a-half year old Amelie Evans asked her mother sleepily one morning this past January. The night before was one that Alysia Evans was not prepared for.

Her daughter Amelie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age six months. Her husband Wayne and then 5-year old daughter Madelyn adjusted as families do with children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes — pricking fingers to test blood sugar, moving test sites of her insulin pump in later years, and watching carb/sugar intake every day. The ritual of getting up at 3am to check Amelie’s blood sugar level every night has not stopped since her age of diagnosis.

One night this past January, Amelie’s blood sugar level was low as they checked it while she slept. Alysia and her husband gave her orange juice in a sippy cup when she was half awake, as sometimes they’ve had to do, in order for her sugar level to rise. It didn’t. Soon they were quickly feeding her spoonful after spoonful of sugar for it to rise. Sleepiness changed and Amelie began to have a seizure. Alysia grabbed the treatment of last resort before the emergency room — a syringe with a hormone and glucose mix. Alysia jabbed the long needle into Amelie’s thigh. Her blood sugar level rose after injection. Covered in sugar, they got Amelie the help she needed as quickly as they could. The next morning, Amelie remembered nothing about what happened. Alysia had to try to explain to her daughter, as carefully as she could, about the health crisis brought on by her disease.

Alysia and Wayne Evans have an 18-month old daughter Molly. Compared to her, Amelie’s life expectancy is seven years less than her sister who does not have diabetes. Alysia took the job as Development Manger of JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, for one reason and one reason only — find a cure for Amelie and children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Saturday, November 10th at 8:30am in Audubon Park will be the annual NOLA JDRF’s Walk for the Cure. Ameile will have her family team, along with other families, schools, and corporate teams, and together we will walk to raise funds and awareness for those with Type 1 diabetes. We hope you can join her and all of us as we commit to the reseach and making lives better for children like Amelie.

We work towards children living longer with the disease, and ensuring future generations have the opportunity to live without the disease. Someday, we hope, no child will ever have to wake up one morning with sugar in her ear.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults – approximately 80 people per day – are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S. Learn the warning signs.

Thank you.

Post submitted by Kathleen Newsom on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation New Orleans 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes.

How motherhood led to a love of reading and the launch of READ Nola

My introductory remarks at the beginning of a session of READ always include telling parents that they are their child’s first and most influential teacher. What I found is that although I did serve in that role, I learned an equal amount from my children.

My career truly benefited from all my daughter and son taught me over the years. As a child, I was not read to and although I was a good student, I was a relatively slow reader and did not know the joy of reading for pleasure. My daughter loved language and books almost from birth. My son started reading at age four, extremely interested in the box scores on the sports page. I feel that they literally took me by the hand and we, together, explored books and the pleasure that reading provides.

I was a teacher by training and taught kindergarten at Newman school for a couple of years before my daughter, Lauren, was born. I left and was a full-time Mom until Josh, my second child, was 10 years old. When I went back to teaching, I continued in the classroom, but also developed a summer reading enrichment program. My interest in doing this was inspired by the love of reading that I experienced personally only after having children. My goal was to design a program that was a fun, comfortable learning environment. The original program was for children aged four to seven years. The summer program was a big success and I enjoyed working with children, books, and literacy so much, that I decided to leave the classroom, and READ was born.

I felt that the exposure to the magic of reading should begin even earlier than four years, so while I applied the same concepts from the summer program, I focused on starting a love of reading as early as possible.

READ Nola is now for children aged six months to five years. In addition, I wanted this reading experience to not only teach the children, but to serve as an opportunity for parents and children to explore the world of books together.

No matter how old they are, children remember times where they felt happy and close with their parents. Incorporating books into those special times helps children associate reading with positive feelings.

A rock-n-roll playlist for kids

One of the best gifts we’ve ever received is a CD of mixed songs from my daughter’s best friend…’s mother. And thanks to my children’s fascination with inserting random items into every nook and cranny of the VW Turbo Passat Wag, this CD is now a permanent fixture. We have been listening to it for almost two years now. The upside is that we all know every single word to every single song, specifically number 3, number 5, number 15 and number 17. I too enjoy number15 but love number 11, certain that if played enough times my daughters would come to appreciate it as much as I. This is not yet the case.

What I love about the idea of creating a mixed tape (dating myself here) is that it’s an opportunity to introduce kids to music that YOU love. There’s only so much Row Row Row Your Boat a parent can take. Besides, exposure to music makes kids smart.

Also, there is nothing more precious than listening to little voices sing big songs. It’s borderline heart-melting.

Do you have a playlist you’d like to share? For the love of Rock-n-Roll, please share it and we’ll post it.

Rock on to the playlist below. If you don’t have Adobe Flash, here is a link.

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