Wiggle Room

Wiggle Room in Sun Prairie is back! This is such a great resource to have during the winter months – especially to parents of multiples!

Wiggle Room is held in the Community Room in the Westside Community Service Building in Sun Prairie (2598 West Main Street) Tuesdays, 10/5 – 12/21 (No Wiggle Room on 11/2, 11/30) from 10:15 – 11:15 (9 am – 10 am for in-home daycare providers). Special Evening Session Wednesdays, 12/8 – 12/22, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, $2.00 per child admitted.

For $1 per child admitted, Wiggle Room is the perfect place for your kids to come and play, while socializing and getting some exercise. This program is most appropriate for children over 12 months and under 6 years old.

Pre-registration is not required for this program. A parent/caregiver is required to attend with participants and will sign in at the door each week. An admission fee will be charged per child admitted each week.

Kids in the Rotunda – October 30

Overture Center’s Kids in the Rotunda is a series of free artistic programs designed for children and families which runs from the last weekend in September through April. This popular performing arts series on the Rotunda Stage offers a relaxed, kid-friendly environment in which to enjoy a diverse lineup of local and regional musicians, storytellers, jugglers, theater troupes, magicians and dancers. The programs run every Saturday at 9:30 am, 11 am and 1 pm (each performance lasts around 45 minutes). The 1 pm performances are sign language interpreted.

This week’s performer is Wayne the Wizard Halloween Show (magic and ventriloquism)

“Wayne caught the magic bug at age 11 and he’s still contagious! Wayne will wow you and your family with astonishing illusions, impressive tricks, colorful balloon animals and a ventriloquist act that will leave you wondering if puppets really can come to life. So pack up your magic wand, unmarked card deck and black top hat, and head to the Rotunda Stage because this show promises to get the whole audience involved in making the magic happen!”

Healthier Trick-or-Treat Alternatives

Some Halloween traditions can be a little hard to participate in if you are not okay with feeding your child candy (or if your child has a milk allergy like Kat’s little girl Milena!). Lily’s first year we decided not to go out to trick-or-treat, but at the last minute I realized she would enjoy being home handing out treats to kids in costume. With no planning ahead, I ran to the store and came up with something (though I don’t remember what, now) that I felt fairly comfortable handing out, as well as having her try if she really wanted to.

Here are some things we’ve handed out, received, or heard as suggestions from like-minded friends:

Playdough– this is a huge hit. I feel like the kids we know that received Playdough we’re at least equally thrilled with this as candy.

Glow Sticks– these are fun, and if they use them while trick or treating at night, it’s actually keeping them safer by being more visible to cars.

Temporary Tattoos– Halloween themed or not, temporary tattoos are fun and festive.

Pencils or Markers– these are fun, and stand out in the sea of candy-loot the kids come home with.

If you want to avoid candy, but feel that the Halloween treat you give out should be food, here are a few options that this candy-phobic mama was happy to see in her 2 year old’s treat bag last halloween:

Mini boxes of raisins– yum!

Granola bars– for whatever reason, we had never even fed her a granola bar, so it was her first and now it’s a favorite. Nice treat!

Snack size bags of pretzels, crackers– Lily received some goldfish crackers, and even the small “snack size” bags felt like a substantial “treat”, with nice bright packaging and pictures, they fit right in with the less-healthy candy treats.

Milk, Juice, Water– especially nice for the kids who trick or treat for several hours, and usually start digging in to the candy en route. On a sugar high and tired, a small bottle of water or milk would really help.

My personal absolute favorite Halloween treat: Every year a house down the street gave away ice cold (i grew up in San Diego, so halloween wasnt necessarily cold) Hansens Natural Soda. It was the one thing my parents let me open while we were out trick-or-treating, it was so refreshing! And since I wasn’t allowed soda often (or at all?) as a kid it was a fun treat.

Celebrate Halloween with Happy Bambino

We’re excited to announce that Happy Bambino is now throwing two Halloween parties for families this year!

We’ve already told you about Baby’s First Halloween being held at the Madison Children’s Museum. Happy Bambino will also be holding a party at their own digs this Saturday – perfect for working parents! See below for more info on both events!

We plan to attend both events, and we hope to see you all there!

Thursday, October 28 (from 10 am – noon), celebrate your baby’s first (or second or third…) Halloween! Enjoy live music (why yes, Eliza from Music Together, will be there again), special treats, and an outdoor costume parade.

We’re looking forward to seeing some AMAZING costumes again! Prizes will be awarded for:

Best Baby Costume
Best Pair/Family Costume
Best Older Sibling Costume
Best costume incorporating a Baby Carrier (especially excited about this one!)

Children under age 1 always get in free at MCM; regular admission prices apply for older siblings and adults. Happy Bambino members will receive buy-one, get-one-free admission. Reservations are not needed. For questions, please contact Adam at 608.354.0536.

Saturday October 30th, 10 am -12 pm

Disco lights, some great “Halloween” music (Alison’s been having entirely too much fun finding tunes), and the chance to get a pic of your sweet babe in costume!

Please join us 10-12 this Saturday for some “spooky” dance partying – disco lights, some great tunes that will make us nostalgic (“Purple People Eater” anyone?), and some tot-friendly “treats” of course (and maybe some grown-up sweetness as well).

Lea will be in-house taking photos of the costumed little ones. There will be a “set-up” for the photos, but fair forewarning, little ones do much better being photographed with their parents – and it’s what makes Lea happy, so you’ll be greatly encouraged to be a part of the photo. And since we’ll be giving a special treat to all the families who come dressed up together, and a super special treat to those incorporating baby carriers, you’ll already be picture perfect, right? $10 for the digital file – OR – make a purchase of $10 or more in the store, and you’ll get the digital file for free!

And if you want to hit both events – the Baby’s First Halloween at the Madison Children’s Museum AND Happy Bambino’s Monster Mash – you’re more than welcome! We love seeing your sweet littles in their awesome get-ups!

Pumpkins!

As a family, we love going out in crisp fall air and trudging through mud and leaves to get to the perfect pumpkin. We do it every year, sometimes more than once!

Eugster’s is a huge favorite of ours, and when Lily’s preschool had a class fieldtrip scheduled to go, we were super excited! It was fun, as always, but we also learned that they have experienced an unfortunate blight on their pumpkins this year, and had to plow under a whopping 45 acres of pumpkins! They also had to buy in 20,000 pumpkins to provide enough for all their regular fall festival visitors and fieldtrips and such. So sad! So, we were happy to support them on a year that they need tons of extra support!

Both Tiffany and Kat did find the cute rows of tidy little pumpkins tucked between the apple trees quite appealing, even if the bought-in pumpkins were a little surreal there. Here’s a picture of Milena finding her perfect pumpkin!

However, if you prefer real, honest to goodness, dirt covered pumpkin patch pumpkins we’ve confirmed that you can find them at both Eplegaarden and Yesteryear Farms.

Have fun!

Kids in the Rotunda – October 23

Overture Center’s Kids in the Rotunda is a series of free artistic programs designed for children and families which runs from the last weekend in September through April. This popular performing arts series on the Rotunda Stage offers a relaxed, kid-friendly environment in which to enjoy a diverse lineup of local and regional musicians, storytellers, jugglers, theater troupes, magicians and dancers. The programs run every Saturday at 9:30 am, 11 am and 1 pm (each performance lasts around 45 minutes). The 1 pm performances are sign language interpreted.

This week’s performer is The Gomers PLEASE NOTE: This Kids in the Rotunda presentation of The Gomers will be in the Overture Hall Lobby, not the Rotunda Stage.

“The Gomers bring their infamous Kid-powered Karaoke to the Rotunda stage! You may remember this performance from Overture’s Fifth Anniversary Party in September where our Madison kids rocked the stage with a live rock band. The Gomers know nearly every song in the book and will play your favorites including “Twinkle Twinkle”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and the “ABC Song”, as well as pretty much any classic rock tune you can think of and your School House Rock favorites. Some favorite memories include a ten-year-old girl rocking out “Iron Man” and little boy dressed as Elvis singing “Return To Sender”. So warm up your vocal chords, practice those dance moves, grab a costume and come on down to the Rotunda for this rockin’ event for the entire family!”

Dads Are Not Second-Class Parents

I bumped into local dad Joey Guido (Daddy Brain) when we both commented on a Facebook post made by a local parenting group. We were both there to ask the same question: why are so many local “parenting” groups only for moms? Yes, groups like Moms in Madison welcome dads as well, but with “mom” right there in the title, it’s obvious for whom the group is really intended.

I chatted with Joey and told him about Raising Madison and how one of our main goals was to make it a resource for ALL parents in the area. But Tiffany, Maggie and I readily admit that we’re moms, and so we can’t tell you what it’s like to be a dad in Madison or give you first-hand reviews of the local dad groups (like Mad City Dads and the Happy Bambino Dads’ Group). So I was thrilled when Joey offered to share some of his thoughts with us! And although they’re written to our male readers, I think all of us as parents can relate to what’s being said.

Thanks so much, Joey!

And we’d love to hear from other local dads as well! We’d love to know more about local dads’ groups and events, and whatever else you’d like to share. If you’d like to contribute, you can e-mail us at raisingmadison [!at]hotmail.com.

Dads Are Not Second-Class Parents

Life is good. I’m lucky enough to have a job as a writer for a major catalog company. I’m happy to have a job, although it is usually quite unsatisfying. But like most dads, my family needs me to work, so I work. Overall, I feel unhappy a whole lot — but that seems to be the case with most people. My family loves me. I have two wonderful boys, a beautiful wife and a fuzzy cat.

So why am I unhappy?

Because every day, when I go to work my heart breaks.

It’s not that I don’t want to work — I am far from lazy. I just don’t want to miss my kids growing up. The first step, the first word, the close relationship where I am more than a paycheck and a weekend play buddy. I used to have my own freelance copywriting business, working form a home office. My first son, Max, had me around every day. I was part of the inner workings of his day AND I paid the bills. My second son, Joss, does not have that luxury. I can’t take a break from work and play for a few minutes, or take him to the pizzeria for lunch. And quite simply, I feel he’s being cheated. And so am I.

Missing my kids is not a phenomenon that is relegated to me, or to the male population for that matter. It’s the 21st century, and many women are working just as many hours as men (when did the 8-hour work day turn into the 9-hour work day? Not to mention the countless parents that must work far more than this new standard of the 45-hour workweek).

The difference is that moms are allowed to talk about it. They’re allowed to miss their kids. Open up Parenting Magazine, and it’s full of pages to help MOM. Meanwhile, dad is relegated to a one or two page article in the back of the magazine – quite often on a totally detached topic.
For years, the title of the magazine said it all: “Parenting: what matters to moms.” So I guess our job is limited to depositing the sperm and the weekly paycheck? Nothing else matters to us?

These days the title of the magazine has changed to, Parenting: the Early Years. But the content is still mom focused, and the question still remains: why is it socially unacceptable to talk about what we’re going through? Like somehow we were never meant to REALLY raise our kids. I have been told by family members that it’s my wife’s job to raise my boys, not mine.

What’s that about?

There are two kinds of dads. One is unfazed by what I’m talking about here. He doesn’t mind being away from home. Maybe he’s even glad to get away from his family for various reasons. If this sounds like you, please know I hold nothing against you. If you’re doing your best, that’s all you can do. This whole article may seem like a complete waste of time to you — except for the fact that you found it and have chosen to read this far, so maybe you’re not happy with how things are after all.

The second kind of dad is what I call a Real Dad. Real Dads change diapers. Real dads get on the floor and play with their kids, and they feed them babas and yucky looking strained foods. And we miss our little pals — day after day, week after week.
If this article helps you in any way, I’m glad. I’m just sick and tired of feeling like I’m some freak because I miss my boys.

And remember, you are not alone…

In addition to his blog, Daddy Brain, Joey is also a speaker working with dads, students and families. Find out more at www.joeyguidospeaks.com.