Make Your Own Thanksgiving Parade

Thanksgiving is here and we are all about to eat too much for our own good.  Some of us may attempt the craziness of Black Friday shopping, which this year is starting on Thursday night in some stores.  But if you are not going shopping or don’t want to take the kids with you, keep them busy all weekend with this project.

Let them make their own Thanksgiving Day Parade.

1. You need two yardsticks, dowels or strips of wood and a block of wood or something to know the stick into so it will stand straight.

2. Run fishing line or frame wire between two sticks, fastening them securely.  Attach a number of large paper clips to the line.

3. Using boxes, balloons, foam, pom poms, fabric, gift wrapping and other papers, challenge children to make a float or balloon.  Remember to provide markers, crayons and Playdough.  They can try to replicate one – Sponge Bob would be easy, or, if they have a small Snoopy Doll, that can be easily attached.

4. Staple fishing line on thread to the top of the balloon or float and then tie that to one of the paper clips suspended from the hooks.

5. Older children can figure out the distance between the posts, depending on the number of children participating and the size of the floats or balloons the children are making.

6. Even 1 year olds can scribble on a white index card and have an older child cut it out in a shape and hang it.

7. Depending on the room you have available and how long you want the children to keep busy, you can use boxes to make some of the apartment buildings along the way, the Museum of Natural History and, of course, Macy’s.  And then there’s Central Park on the other side.

Give the kids cameras and let them take picture at various stages, as well as of the finished product.

I’d love to see them.  Please e-mail them to me at

Doodley Noodley Yours,



You Just Can’t Die And Come Back

“You just can’t die and come back” said one of Ashlynn’s friends.  Ashlynn was a 10 year old honor student and cheerleader who wanted to be a veterinarian.  She committed suicide after being bullied by some classmates who suggested that she should be home schooled.

There could not be a more poignant reason to stop school budget cuts.  Ashlynn had been harassed since 3rd grade.  Her parents were caring and responsible and went to speak to teachers and principals.  Yet, the bullying continued.

Many questions have to be asked.  Was she being bullied by the same girls over a period of time, was it a new group every year or was there one girl who was a leader, changing allies each year?  Were the girls who were doing the bullying ever spoken to?

As more and more pressure is placed on teachers and administrators to do more with less school funding and less salary while achieving higher test grades, I wonder if 5th grade girls are the only bullies.

In Ashlynn’s name and for her parents’ sake, let’s take care of our children by reducing stress for everyone, providing guidance counselors for troubled kids to talk to and teaching humanity by studying the humanities.  Test taking is a needed skill.  So is tolerance!

Tell me how you think we can limit bullying in our schools.

How Many Kids Have Tantrums?

According to Michel Borba, a parent expert who has done research, 7 out of 10 children have temper tantrums.


If this is true, how would a preschool teacher ever conduct class?  There would be at least one tantrum every day.  As someone who both taught and supervised, as an assistant principal, pre-K classes, my experience, and I recognize that it is anecdotal, even though it covers 20 classes, doesn’t support that high a figure.   Are they including a child who has just one temper tantrum – my son?  (My daughter never had any.)

We were leaving the supermarket about 4 blocks from our apartment with cookies and some other groceries under the stroller in which my 1 year old daughter was sitting.  All of a sudden, my 4 year old son started shouting that he wanted a cookie.  I said that he could have one after lunch.  He started crying and yelling.  I reaffirmed my position, took hold of his hand a little tighter than normally and proceeded to walk home.

Is it embarrassing to have a crying yelling child at your side?  Of course!  Two more times of my saying “after lunch,” and one block from our house, he had calmed down.

I didn’t threaten – “If you don’t stop now, you are not going to get the cookie.”  After lunch, he got his cookie and this message from his mom.  “I want you to know that your making a fuss doesn’t change my behavior.  I’ll do what I said I would do.  So there is really no point to your crying and yelling.”

My son never had a tantrum again.  He learned to use words to communicate what he wanted, but that’s probably more of a book than a blog.

So, Moms, Dads and others confronted by a terrible temper tantrum:

  1. Remain Calm.  Remember you’re the adult.
  2. Make sure that the child is not in a position to hurt himself or others.
  3. Don’t threaten.  Inform how you will deal with the child’s demand.
  4. Remember that screaming child is the sweet bundle of joy that fell asleep on your shoulder.

Tissues or Tax Breaks

Schools Sacrifice, TV & Movies Flourish – NY Times

While school budgets are being cut, and parents are asked to supply tissues, paper towels, cleaning products (??) and crayons (OK, maybe), popular TV shows like LAW AND ORDER SVU & siblings, BLUE BLOODS and THE GOOD WIFE, which according to its script takes place in Chicago, are earning tax credits for shooting their episodes on the streets of New York City.

The above shows are among my favorites, and I am willing to endure the “No Parking” signs on severely blocks of my Upper Westside neighborhood every month (My husband parks the car).  What I am not willing to endure is that the city that has the best of everything, the best city in the United States, if not the world

Mr. Bloomberg, you wanted to be the “Education Mayor.”  As a very successful businessman, one would certainly expect that you have the ability to think outside the box.  Can we please see some of that creativity here?

OK, you give the studios their tax breaks because you’re afraid that, if you don’t, they’ll go someplace else, even though they said they wouldn’t.   Juliana Marguiles, the star of THE GOOD WIFE, wants to live in New York City, and BLUE BLOODS, about a New York City police commissioner, and our finest, wants to be authentic (APPLAUSE!!!)

How about a cocktail party at Gracie Mansion for the stars, producers, directors and network guys?  You’re a numbers cruncher.  How much does it cost for tissues paper towels and crayons for an elementary school for a year?  For Clorox wipes so teachers can wipe seats and desks?  (Yes, as an assistant principal in the South Bronx, I bought Clorox wipes and washed the windows in a sew science lab I set up) <Hear that Clorox?>

Have an auction.  Let’s see how many schools each show can fund.  What percentage of their tax breaks are they willing to give back?  I’m not implying that the stars, producers or anyone else is not generous.  I am sure that they give.  It’s just that the United States is not a worldwide leader in the education of its people any more, and we have to be.  That is where our real defense lies.

I don’t want our parents to have to spend time and money buying paper towels for their children’s classrooms.  I want them to spend it on books and reading to their children.

Come on!  This is the greatest city in the greatest country.  Isn’t that’s why you’re shooting your shows here?

Watch for our book giveaway – Coming Soon!

Chicken Pox Lollipops and Chicken Pox Parties

Some parents are forgoing what were once traditional chicken pox vaccines which helped to eradicate the disease.  A Nashville woman was charging $50.00 a pop for lollipops that had been licked by sick kids.  “It’s illegal and unsafe,” said Jerry Martin, a Nashville prosecutor.

Chicken pox, which was once nearly universal, has fallen between 57% and 90% since a vaccine was introduced in 1995.  The majority of cases, about 90%, that do occur affect infants, children and adolescents under the age of 14.  Deaths in children, ages 1 to 9, have declined about 90%.  Hospitalizations and costs have fallen between 75% and 88%.  General infections have been reduced to 85% and they prevent 95% of severe infections which can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis.

While there is some concern about the development of shingles due to the lack of exposure to chicken pox, studies show that the rate is lower among vaccinated children.  This may be because immune systems may not be as strong.  As people might become more vulnerable to shingles, doctors might recommend that the shingles vaccine be given to adults starting at the age of 40.  Vaccinations help us to control the occurrence of disease and are more helpful than not.  Just think of polio.

Lollipops should be a reward for being brave and getting the vaccine shot.

Parties should celebrate recovery or not getting the disease at all.

My opinion is that children should get the shot and healthy kids should attend school.

What’s your opinion?


The selection of books about Thanksgiving at Barnes and Noble, I thought, was somewhat disappointing.  It took me over an hour until I felt I had some books to recommend.  While children will concentrate on the parade, the food and playing with cousins that they might not see often, it is important that parents enrich their child’s sense of history.

Here are 4 books that Doodle is recommending.


A favorite character of all, Amelia Badelia takes over the school play when the flu sends many staff and children home.

While the book continues Amelia’s strange interaction with the English language, the narrator of the play finally is able to
impart some Thanksgiving facts.  A book for developing readers.


This book, which is aimed at independent readers in grades 1 – 3, gives an account of the landing of the Mayflower and the settling of the Pilgrims

The author and illustrator worked with the research staff at Plymouth Plantation and the text and illustrations are historically accurate.

This book uses researchers at Plymouth Plantation to insure historical accuracy.  It is suitable for 3rd to 6th graders who may be doing research.  The book is organized around a series of questions accompanied by accurate illustrations.  It is useful to read to younger children who may have questions about what the Pilgrims ate at the first Thanksgiving, games the children played and the clothing that they wore.

This is a National Geographic Kids book providing pictures of contemporary people dressed in costumes, many of them taken at Plymouth Plantation.  The print is large, and the sentences short,  but the photographs can stimulate children’s questions and lead to further discussion.

The best book, however, is one that can be written by your child – “I AM THANKFUL FOR…”

Parents Magazine Article On Conquering Morning Chaos

As a former assistant principal of a pre – k through 8th grade school, and a mom who went back to work when her children were 3 and 6, I can certainly empathize with the moms in the recent Parents Magazine article, “Make Over Your Morning Routine.”  I must take issue with the coaches’ advice to take your child to school in pajamas.  As schools will not allow a child to attend class wearing sleepwear, mom will have to take the child home again.  Arriving late and having the child explain to the secretary that he was watching TV doesn’t always embarrass the child.  Both of the aforementioned tactics, however, do disrupt classes when the child enters late, takes up the time of school administrators and wastes mom’s time while making her feel  inadequate.None of your professionals came up with organizers that could make this a win/win situation.  Having spent 40 years watching students and my own children, as well as those of my friends, I came to the realization that there was a need for children’s organizers and founded Doodle Noodle, LLC to meet that need.

Mom would never have a problem with Jane if she had the Clothes Doodle, an organizer with each day written at the top on an interior 12 inch pocket which holds underwear, tops and bottoms or dresses, socks and accessories for the day.

The age of the child will help determine how much assistance he or she will require, but come Sunday, the clothes can be organized for the entire week, including shorts for gym on Thursday.  An eighth pocket called the Sleep Noodle has a tote bag to carry needed items for sleep overs.

The Clothes Doodle comes in two parts and has a handle at each end.  It can be hung from a hook or a hanger convenient to the child’s height.  It also folds over and can be carried like a mini suitcase, great for trips to grandma’s and vacations.

The School Doodle is a backpack insert with plastic pockets for all those necessary tools – ruler, scissors, crayon, markers, etc.  It even has a pocket with a Velcro closure for lunch or bake sale money. 

The School Doodle has pockets on both sides and a handle at the top allows it to be easily taken out of a back pack.  An additional one can be hung near the child’s desk or taken wherever homework is done thus avoiding lost time looking for supplies

Finally, the Messenger Doodle, another back pack insert, is imprinted with “To School” on one side and “To Home” on the other.  Each side has a large plastic pocket for permission slips, notices and homework sheets.  Mom looks at the papers, signs what she has to, puts it back in the “To School” pocket and the Messenger Doodle goes back into the child’s backpack.

Organization becomes a shared responsibility of child and parent and eases the stress of both.