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Showing posts from September, 2020

BR Parents Blog - Pandemic Retail Therapy: Shopping My Feelings One Click at a Time

First published on the Baton Rouge Parents blog, which you can read here.Filling a shopping cart online is fun, but it’s not as fun as filling up a cart in real life, at least for me. I am sure it has something to do with instant gratification. Online shopping gives that sweet dopamine release, but the payoff is delayed while the items ship. Some of the discount stores have such slow shipping by design (Zulily, I’m looking at you) that by the time the item arrives it’s like a surprise gift for myself!Delayed gratification hasn’t kept me from doing plenty of online shopping while our family (and the world) has been staying closer to home. For the past six-plus months, I have limited my in-person shopping to a weekly grocery run and an occasional Target drive-up. Pre-corona, I would shop at a number of stores during the week–avoiding crowds and filling my child-free time efficiently by hitting up stores while most people were at work. I love clearance shopping, and I had a p…

BR Parents Blog: Unexpected New Skills While Staying Close to Home

First published on the Baton Rouge Parents blog - read it here.
Although stay-at-home orders didn’t turn me into a better homemaker, they did expand my horizons within the domestic sphere, and this old dog learned some new tricks. While my thumb is still black and my house is still…lived in…more time spent at home wasn’t a total loss.In the midst of the stay-at-home orders, I had a produce delivery that included some romaine lettuce. I decided to try a hack I’d seen on Facebook (watching time-waster videos is another hobby I’ve picked up in corona-time). After I cut off the leaves, I put the leftover lettuce end into a glass of water on my kitchen window. I was blown away by the roots it sprouted and new leaves it grew. I kept changing the water and felt just like Ma Ingalls. Eventually, the roots got too large for the glass, and it seemed like dirt was the next best place for it. I planted it in the “garden” area in our backyard and within a day it was dead. Black thumb re…

BR Parents: Exceptional Lives - Different, Not Less: A Mother’s Advocacy for Her Son with Autism

A diagnosis of autism can turn a family upside down, and that was the case for William Spiller IV when he was diagnosed at age two. Because he didn’t speak or respond, doctors first thought his hearing was the problem, but an auditory brainstem response test proved his hearing was fine.The school system where they lived at the time wanted to label William as having mild mental retardation, which didn’t sit well with his mother Naisha Brignac. Another parent suggested she have him tested for Fragile X, or mutated chromosome. That test was negative as well and helped doctors determine William does not have a mental disability but instead has autism.“After I got the diagnosis, I was devastated,” Naisha says. “I just wanted him to be healed and cured from autism.” As time went on, Naisha has come to embrace William’s differences and celebrate milestones, even if they come later. Now 13, William was potty trained at five and started speaking in full sentences around age six.Wi…

BR Parents: One Amazing Kid Thomas O'Connor

When Thomas O’Connor participated in Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge, he didn’t know just how useful his business would be during the global pandemic and its disruptions to learning. As part of the academy, Thomas, a 16-year-old sophomore at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, launched Face Tutor, an app that connects students with tutors in real time. “It will allow a student to talk to a tutor and see a tutor,” Thomas says. Most other tutoring apps are text-based, which can be harder for students to grasp concepts.Even before Zoom became a household word, Thomas realized its video chat feature could help student understanding. Providing 24/7 access, meaning students can get help at night using tutors in different time zones, is also a goal for Thomas.Face Tutor won the academy’s investor panel competition, and Thomas received $5,000 to invest in developing the app. Thomas’ mentor, Kasra Khalili, helped him develop and perfect his presentation for the panel.“The in…

BR Parents: September 2020

As Education and Community sections editor, I wrote pages 16-23 and page 28 of the September2020 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine (except the Parkview Baptist brief on page 20). See the web layout on the magazine's website.