The Kiddy Pool: Mighty Oaks from Acorns Grow

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Children are natural artists and scientists; indeed, it seems to me that children, unlike so many of us grownups, rarely see the distinction between art and science. When left to their own devices (and that, perhaps, is key), children explore, investigate, and discover the world around them in all its beauty and complexity. Somewhere along the way, most of us lose … [Read more...]

The Lost Women and Children of the Abortion Debate: A Pro-life Response to Walsh, Akin, and Mourdock

A staunchly pro-life critique of the recent flippancy of abortion rhetoric by pro-life candidates Joe Walsh, Todd Akin, and Richard Mourdock. I’m going to tell you something that I haven’t, until now, told many people. Between my two pregnancies, I had a miscarriage. I was not trying to conceive at that point, but one week I started feeling more tired than usual, and I started vomiting at regular intervals throughout the day. I wasn’t sick, per se, but every day at 10am, I puked. I tried to go f … [Read more...]

Hudson Valley Weather: Good Neighbors

It’s the day after Hurricane Sandy swept through the Hudson Valley, the place I call home, and the recovery work is only just beginning. The region is making national headlines, not because of the damage done, but because of the distress averted by the Facebook page “Hudson Valley Weather.” In Forbes, Todd Essig writes that the site exploded in popularity (and prepared the region for the storm) with three steps: “have expertise, enable activity both online and off, support (not create) communi … [Read more...]

Hurricane Sandy Checklist: Love Thy Neighbor

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.When I wrote about Hurricane Irene last year, I thought I’d stumbled upon a unique topic, at least given my geographical position. The path of Hurricane Sandy is proving me woefully wrong, and my area is gearing up for a storm of epic proportions, one predicted to be even more ferocious than Irene. My home state of New York is in a state of emergency, along with a … [Read more...]

All Hallow’s Read: Why We Should Read Scary Stories for Halloween

Erin Newcomb makes a case for the virtue, humanness, and theological richness of scary stories, and urges us to follow Neil Gaiman's advice to give a scary book to someone on Halloween. “The night was cold and dark. ‘Listen to the wind howling in the trees,’ said Frog. ‘What a fine time for a ghost story.’ Toad moved deeper into his chair. ‘Toad,’ asked Frog, ‘don’t you like to be scared? Don’t you like to feel the shivers?’”Whether Toad likes to feel the shivers or not, I shall leave … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: A Case for Catechism

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I memorized the twenty-third Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer when I was eight years old, not as part of any official home or church-education program, but because I’d heard about them and they seemed important. What drew me to those Scriptures as a child was a vague notion of truth and beauty that today I can more clearly discern as the Holy Spirit. I have memorized sign … [Read more...]

The Great Marshmallow Trust Test

A new study from Cognition complicates the traditional “marshmallow test” of children’s impulse control. In the original test, children are told they can eat one marshmallow now or wait (usually about 15 minutes) and get two marshmallows by showing restraint. The initial interpretation of this test suggested that children who were able to exercise self-control were more likely to be successful later in life; Maia Szalavitz writes in TIME Magazine that “This apparently trivial challenge has seriou … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Diapers, for the Glory of God

I got pregnant with my first daughter almost 4 years ago now; I subsequently carried her to term, nursed her for 23 months, and, in the same week that I celebrated weaning her, found out I was pregnant again. The cycle began again (or rather continued) with another pregnancy, the birth of another baby girl, and here I am, almost 5 months in to nursing and going strong. Sometimes I wonder when I’ll get my body back to myself, and yet some days I feel like my own body’s basic needs get neglected wh … [Read more...]

Teach Your Children Well: Reflecting on Madeline Levine’s Book and Galatians 5

Last week, MSNBC’s "The Cycle" interviewed Dr. Madeline Levine, psychologist and author of Teach Your Children Well, whose best-selling text calls into question the dominant ideologies of today’s parenting ideals. Levine remarks “What’s overparenting? It’s doing what your kid can already do and can technically do” and confusing the parents’ needs with the children’s. The challenge with letting children exercise their abilities and near-abilities is essentially one of parental peer pressure.My … [Read more...]

Why Have Kids? Thoughts from a Traditional Feminist

It’s typical for me to read contemporary feminist journalism ambivalently; on the one hand, I hold a doctoral degree in Women’s Studies, and I specialized in feminist theory. On the other hand, I wrote my dissertation on evangelical women (much to the horror of some of my committee members, who didn’t stick around long). Both my faith and my commitment to at least some principles of feminism have made me suspect to members of each “camp,” though I know I’m not alone as a woman of faith who takes … [Read more...]