The Kiddy Pool: All in the Olympic Family

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Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. Like so many others around the world, I’m watching the Winter Olympic Games and getting my quadrennial fix of sports like the skeleton. I’m still trying to comprehend the allure of sliding headfirst, at speeds approaching 70-80 miles an hour on what one commentator described as essentially a cookie sheet. Yet while I’m not a daredevil by any definition, I … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Paradox of the Loving Addict

Image- justinhoch via Flickr (CCBY2.0)

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. I felt tremendous sadness when I learned of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I could wax poetic about his brilliance as an actor and his contributions to contemporary American cinema, but I am not an astute film critic. Suffice it to say that I always found his characters compelling. I watch, like so many of his audiences, as an outsider, on the periphery of his … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: If a Pony Neighs in the Forest

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Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. One of the interesting parts of parenting my second child is observing how differently my two girls approach the world around them. I could say they have the same parents, but I doubt very much that they experience us, or that we respond to them, in ways they would someday interpret as the same. Both of my girls are chatterboxes at home, but my toddler’s language … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Marathon Mama

Image- Josiah Mackenzie via Flickr (CCBY2.0)

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. Last weekend, I ran my 19th marathon, my 2nd since having children. Before I became a mother, I heard a lot of comparisons of childbirth to running a marathon, but while both can be grueling endurance events, the analogy doesn’t quite work for me. I chose a convenient date for my marathon, followed a training plan, and reviewed the course map before getting to the … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Teaching Good Taste

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Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. This weekend, my family hosted a couple of out-of-town guests; we went out to dinner on Saturday evening, with the goal of finding an appropriate place for children with great food for all of us. So my husband and I fell back on our ranking of the top three French fries in the Hudson Valley, and we selected an off-time for our meal at our number one location. The … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Reading The Dark as Children of the Light

Image: Amazon

I’ve been intrigued by The Dark ever since I saw it on a display table at Barnes and Noble around Halloween. Written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen, it seemed sure to be a grimly comedic gem. Best known for his Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket tones down the macabre for the younger audience of this picture book. Jon Klassen (whose work I particularly love in Extra Yarn and I Want My Hat Back) provides his typical sparse yet dramatic characters and lots of play … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Free Lunches and Child Labor

Image- Kelly Short6 via Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. This year, I’m a little more obsessed than usual with the Dickens story A Christmas Carol; I started rereading it again this weekend after taking my elder daughter to a performance of the story by The Puppet People. It’s always given me chills when Scrooge inquires about the prisons and the workhouses. After learning that “many would rather die” than go … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Katniss Everdeen and the Greatest Love

© 2013 - Lionsgate

I didn’t see the first Hunger Games movie in the theatre. At the time, I was seven months pregnant with my second daughter, and I had a funny feeling that hormonal fluctuations and dying children would make for an anxiety-inducing film experience. It’s easy enough, without the pregnancy-related crazy, for viewers to interpret the sacrifice Collins’ characters make in light of our own loves and losses. It’s her sacrifice for Prim, and later for Rue, that makes us love Katniss in the … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: The Burden of Not Knowing & the Loving Arms of Advent

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Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, my elder daughter and I snuggled under a blanket and watched The Muppets Christmas Carol; I think I inherited my love of this story from my father, who includes several versions of A Christmas Carol in his rotation of ten films to re-watch for the rest of his life. It’s got mystery, drama, comedy (c’mon, “there’s more of … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Joy Is Sufficient

Image- K. Kendall via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. I’ve read a couple of articles lately about the benefits of two of my favorite pastimes—daydreaming and reading. In “Teach Kids to Daydream,” Jessica Lahey exhorts “Teach your kids how to just be. How to value silence and be at peace with nothing but their thoughts to occupy them. Make the romantic notion of laying back on the soft grass with nothing to do … [Read more...]


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