The only problem with zoo babies is that, relatively speaking, they're not babies for very long. I was reminded of that when I brought my preschooler to the Woodland Park Zoo last week to see the new Bamboo Forest Reserveexhibit and the lion cubs. Except, we couldn't find cubs in the lion exhibit. Instead, we marveled at the still-magnificent, but-not-quite-as-cute-as-we-expected adolescent lions, born in November. (They are considered grown at two years.)
To keep you from making the same mistake, and because we're in the middle of a zoo baby boom, and because these photos are just really, really cute, here's a round-up of local zoo babies on view right now.
Point Defiance Aquarium & Zoo: Tiger cubs and meerkats
Kali, the newest member of the endangered Sumatran tiger family, turned one month on May 17 (check out that pin-up-like photo of her below). She has grown from a birth weight of about 2.5 pounds to more than 10 pounds in just four weeks. Zoo visitors can watch Kali’s feedings and keeper interactions with her in the Cub Den during zoo hours (daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. right now).
Today, we're giving away a family pass to the Touch a Truck event in Monroe on Saturday, June 1, which includes admission for eight people to all the event's attractions: trucks, face painting, balloon animals, crafts, live music, pictures with Blitz the Seahawk, and more.
To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post, and include your email in Disqus (not publicly) so that we can contact you!
Additional entries will be given for the following (leave an extra comment for each action to let us know):
Editor's note: As part of his Seattle International Film Festival coverage, ParentMap movie reviewer John Kubalak and his two kids reviewed 'Epic,' which opens in theaters tomorrow. Find more SIFF picks from John in his SIFF preview.
Epic is the latest film from Blue Sky Studios, the people who brought us Ice Age and Rio. It's based on William Joyce's book The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs.
After the death of her mother a teenage girl comes to live with her father who is obsessed with finding evidence of the existence of tiny fairy-like leaf people in the forest. Crazy as he seems, it turns out he’s right and the girl is magically transported into this world and given responsibility for a magical bloom that has the power to save the forest. The eponymous battle then ensues between good (the leaf people defenders of the verdant life of the forest) and evil (the Boggins, nasty shark/bug things that spread death and decay).
Ages 8 and up, rated PG
There is something for both boys and girls here. Fairy-like people of the forest, some with beautiful dresses, a strong heroine, leaf-men Kung Fu swordplay on hummingbirds that sound like teeny-tiny WWII fighters, and two very amusing gastropods. The villainous Boggins are truly threatening and creepy so I would not recommend this for kids under 8 unless they have a fondness for gross and menacing creatures.
The Boggins are evil shark bugs that ride bats and old crows and their arrows spread death and decay. They are fairly unpleasant but not excessively creepy, just mostly creepy. Aside from lots of battling where injury and death are strongly implied by rarely shown onscreen this is a fairly harmless movie for most kids.
The kids' review
Our family was fairly divided on this one. Our son was not interested in seeing it based on the trailers and the movie itself did nothing to change his opinion. He didn’t care for the Boggins, the slug/snail comedy (although he couldn’t help laughing a couple of times – they’re pretty funny), or the heroics of the main characters. For my part, even though I enjoyed the film overall, afterward I was left with a foreboding aftertaste. I hope I’m not giving too much away by saying that although the good guys in a big summer Hollywood kids movie do okay for themselves in the end, the evil forces in the movie were so effectively portrayed that their presence stayed with me more than the warm fuzzies after the movie was over.
My daughter on the other hand, couldn’t disagree more. She is a huge fan of fairies and the portrayal of the magical world of the forest, while not technically fairyland, has more than enough wonder and beautiful art direction to satisfy any fairy-loving person. She thought Beyoncé was fabulous and beautiful, the slug and snail were hilarious, and I suspect she related to the main character with the crazy dad.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment or have something to add?
About the author: John Kubalak is a writer, teacher, volunteer coordinator, raconteur, and scalawag. He does not publish science fiction under the pseudonym Jonathan Black but he does publish a monograph on fatherhood, The Eclectic Dad where this post originally appeared. He has a son, a daughter, a beautiful wife (and a little dog too!) who are adorable, maddening, zany, and brilliant all at the same time.
This giveaway ends Friday, May 24, at noon. We will leave a comment reply for the winner by the end of the day.
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There's this picture I have of my grandfather. I never knew him. My mom barely did; he died when she was a kid. He's at the beach in the photo, on a boardwalk. He has a wide-brimmed hat, a tweed jacket, a well-tied cravat, pinstriped pants, spats, a little pocket square in his coat pocket. He's one dapper and swanky gentleman, to be sure.
He's got my nose. His eyes are shaded. It looks like his chin might be dimpled.
This photograph is the only physical tie I have to him. It's my bond with him, this photo, folded and tattered and torn. I wish I could have known him. Norman was his name. I feel like I do know him sometimes, just by looking at this old photo on my desk.
My daughter's lucky. I remind her of that sometimes. She's got most all of her grandparents still, and a couple great-grandparents to boot. I hope she can spend as much time with them as she can, soak up as much familial history as she can, laugh with them. Play. Hear stories from them. Tell them her own. I never really got to tell my own to my grandparents.
My mom's dad died when she was a kid. My dad's dad died when I was a baby. Certainly we visited my widowed grandmother's plenty. Flora was my mom's mom. She lived in Northern California. Nellie was my dad's mom, she lived near Portland.
But, truth be told, I was a kid, and I didn't really care too much about who they were. They were old ladies. What did they have to teach me? And, truth be told, they both sort of frightened me and, because of that fact, I didn't like them that much. Of course, I never gave them much of an opportunity, I'm afraid. That'll be my fault for the rest of my days.
Memory of Nellie: Her creepy basement. There was this one room down there filled with musty books and a bed that I swear was slept in by a haunting specter. My siblings can vouch for its creepiness.
Editor's Note: Science has shown that the early patterns we set can help or hinder our parenting for years beyond. Many new parents want the tools and support to help create a relationship of trust and attachment with their babies, and to learn to mindfully manage the stress and pressure that often comes with the world's toughest yet most rewarding job. As part of the launch of our new BabyMap portal, I spoke with facilitators from Listening Mothers (LM), an eight-week program of the Community of Mindful Parents that helps new parents reduce stress and increase well-being. We've assembled a Q & A that peeks into what this approach is all about, plus some tips that parents can use with children of any age.
Meet our virtual panel:
Rama Ronen, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist trained in Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy. She works at the Entelechy Wellness Center with expectant, new, and experienced mothers. "Mindfulness" is integrated throughout her practice.
"Wow, is it challenging to be a mom these days? Absolutely! As a mom of three and from listening to other moms I find it at time overwhelming to trust what is “right” and what is wrong. I would like to encourage all of us to become more familiar with that critical voice and practice being kind to one’s self and remember that we are doing the best that we can."
Gigi Wickwire is a mom to a new baby, a LM facilitator since 2011, a registered nurse with a master’s in clinical social work and a former doula.
“Being in baby time — going slower than the culture what might want us to go — is so complementary to a mindfulness practice. It’s made the world of difference in my relationship with my son. There is something pretty exquisite when we pause and listen with our inner listening.”
Yaffa Maritz is a co-founder of Listening Mothers and clinical director of both Listening Mothers and Reflective Parenting, and she is founder and director of the Community of Mindful Parents. Maritz was born and trained in Israel as a clinical psychologist. She is also a licensed mental health counselor trained in infant mental health.
"We know from research that mother's touch enhances attachment between mother and her baby. It can signify security and can generate positive emotions. We especially encourage mothers to experiment with what we call "reflective touch," which follows the guidelines of our program and is a way of conveying a respectful, empathic, sensitive ways of relating."
Why are we so stressed today as parents?
In our competitive society today we all feel somehow less than adequate, and mothers instinctively want to be the best mothers they can be so that their child will thrive. But they are feeling great pressure both from the inside themselves and from the outside to perform in a certain “perfect” way. Because of that pressure, they end up with a barrage of self-doubt and self-judgment.
In our groups we help mothers develop skills to become more mindful so they can notice those judgmental and highly critical thoughts when they come and go and then understand that they, as mothers, are bigger and better than those crippling thoughts.