As the fall-out of the recession lingers on, I am seeing more and more families in my clinic who are facing food insecurity and hunger. Many of these are families who used to be solidly middle class, but have been out of work for a year. They’ve already sold their car, their home, some of their belongings. They are running short each month. They are not sure where to turn, and they are often ashamed to talk about it. Continue reading The Changing Face of Hunger
I recently became a fan of Rob Reiner. No, it is not for his work on The Princess Bride (although I must say, “wuv tru wuv”). I became a fan when I learned that he is a major advocate for early childhood development and helped to create First 5 California, a program that now provides critical services to young children. And, then, I learned, he turned his energies toward making preschool available for all California children. He backed Proposition 82 in 2006, a ballot initiative that would have provided access to free, voluntary, half-day preschool for all 4 year olds in California. Some say the bill was well designed, some say flawed. Reiner took an incredible amount of heat for backing the bill, was forced to resign his position on the First 5 board, and the bill failed miserably at the polls. What? Well, it turns out that preschool is surprisingly controversial. Continue reading School-less in California
So, the time is approaching. The time I’ve been dreading a bit. The one developmental milestone, that, for some reason, I was kind of hoping my son would reach later rather than earlier. It is almost time for toilet training. How do I know? Well, the little guy routinely sits on his little potty for a few minutes before bathtime. We read some books, chat, and that is that. But, lately, these nightly sits on the potty have occasionally become, shall we say, productive.
“How many words do you think he can say?”, I asked, as I do for all 2 year olds, at a recent well child visit. The mom’s eyes gleamed proudly, “at least 50 I think” and then her face dropped, “but they’re mostly in Spanish.”
In my diverse practice well over half of the families speak a language other than English at home. And, the above is a common scenario- apparent disappointment or shame that their young child prefers that language to English, or speaks a mixture of both. I have made it my mission to dispute the notion that speaking two or more languages at an early age is somehow a disadvantage, and I am really happy to see so many recent studies that back me up. Continue reading Bilingual Bebé