Century of the Child at the MoMa

My friends at Timbuktu wanted to make sure that if you happen to be in New York, there is something you don’t want to miss: Century of the Child, an ambitious exhibition at the MoMA about design for children (its theories and developments) in the XX Century – “the century of the child,” as design reformer Ellen Key called (and envisioned) it in 1900.

Toys, books, posters, objects: the exhibition is an impressive collection of all that design has done for and about children last century.

And for those of you who can’t see the show, there is a great website about the show which is essentially an online version of the exhibition and gives a pretty accurate idea of the extent of the collection.

 

And if you are planning to go see the show with your kids (you should!), here is a family activity guide to help you make the most of the visit. The exhibition is up through November 5th and you can find more information about the related events here. Let us know how you like it!

Timbuktu is the iPad magazine for you and your children. They work at the intersections of design, education and technology and help parents discover the world with their kids.

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Guest Post: Are Italian Dads finally shedding their “Mama’s Boy” label?

A silent revolution is taking place amongst new Italian fathers. Does this signal the end of the ”mammone” or as you would say in the US “ mama’s boy”? I wanted to give you an Italian dad blogger’s point of view and New York Dad was kind enough to share my post with all of you (editor’s note from NYD: BABBOnline wrote the post directly in English which is not his first language. I have only corrected a few things for flow, but I wanted to leave as much of this untouched as possible. I also wanted to make sure reader appreciated his effort).

Even though Italy is known as “Mom Country”, and the other countries see Italian men as “mama’s boys”, in the last few years there has been a silent revolution involving the role of dad in the parenting equation. There is greater awareness amongst new Italian fathers about the importance of being an important part of the growth process of their children. New dads involved in what are in many places considered standard dad tasks: diapers, cooking, bathing, cleaning etc. These new dads are 30-40 years old with a wife who works full-time. They share the responsibility of supporting the family and child care with their wives. They take a leave to stay at home with kids and they love spending the day with their babies. Fathers have discovered that they can be just as good as moms.

This is a novelty for Italian men. Many men are not so happy about this change because it entails effort. To be a full time dad is harder than being a “just one-hour-a-day” dad. Some fathers are used to minding the children only when they’re back from work late in evening. Many dads, though, have realized that it’s not as difficult as they thought it would be to actually stay at home with their kids. Moreover spending time with their children is the best way to create a relationship with them and establish a strong bond.

It’s clear that dads and moms are different, they have a different approach and style in interaction with children but they are complementary and indispensable for their baby’s growth. And this new approach to fatherhood is not innate, but can be simply learnt.

New dads are still a minority in Italy because there are many social barriers. For example, companies are not used to managing these new dads. It seems that a man should decide between career and fatherhood while I would argue he could get both. The children of this new dad generation will grow up with a new perspective and maybe this will spell the end of the “mammon” era.

Some months after the birth of my daughter, I decided to start up a blog on my fatherhood experience to share my thoughts and my everyday life in order to create a community for dads. I realized that on the Internet, Italian dad bloggers are like a drop in the ocean of mom bloggers. Unlike moms, it seems that dads are not as good at building a team among men. Maybe because the father role is not defined, everyone interprets this role in a different way. It’s unlikely to see dads chatting together when they are at the park with children. Moms do it all the time.

I was told that abroad the situation is completely different. I know there are even some magazines just for dads, in Italy that is inconceivable.

As a blogger of the Italian blog BABBOnline, which means “Dad Online”, I created a logo dedicated to dads: “Dad On Duty” identifying dads who take part in their childrens’ life.

The image I created is that of a father raising his baby to the sky. This is known as “il gesto di Ettore” or “Hector’s gesture” because in Iliad, before the battle, the hero Hector says good-bye to his son with this gesture. According to some research this is a typical male gesture. I would love to see stickers with my logo on bumpers, on the back window of cars or even on a backpack.

I look forward to meeting many more Italian and foreign “dads on duty”.

Sincerely,

BABBOnline (http://babbonline.blogspot.it/)

Guest Post: A New Yorker’s Response to Smoke-Free Park Scofflaws

Foreword by New York Dad

When I decided on posting this guest post by Steve I was very transparent with him in saying that I myself indulge a few times a year in a cigar on special occasions, but as an ex-smoker myself and a parent I can appreciate the post and am onboard with the idea of keeping smoke away from children. I am by no means a harasser of smokers, but as a parent I do find it annoying when someone lights up next to my son even in the open air, if for no other reason than the fact that he turns to me and says it smells “yucky yucky” (among so many other offending smells in this city!). I myself must go through a cleansing routine similar to a HazMat scrub the couple of times I come back from a cigar bar and my wife has me bag my clothing and hoses me down like a prisoner before I can put a foot inside the door – and I really do not mind it at all.  I do believe that there are plenty of appropriate venues and there is plenty of space that anyone who wants to smoke can do so and without it being a terrible imposition. It is just a matter of looking around you and making sure that there are no kids and that you are not puffing onto the person next to you. Now if only we could force everyone to take a shower before riding public transportation…

A New Yorker’s Response to Smoke-Free Park Scofflaws

A second weekend of smoke-free parks and beaches has passed, a welcome and healthy change for my son Ben, 14 months, and my wife and I.  Out at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, our city’s second largest park, neighboring picnickers had replaced smoking with good-natured grumbling – and while leaving we saw a steady trickle of smokers with unlit cigarettes hanging from their mouths headed towards the park’s periphery.

I wasn’t surprised by the good compliance we saw, despite the recent noise made by the opposition. Why? At World Lung Foundation we have seen this pattern play out time and again with new smoke-free laws of all sorts and in dozens of countries.

Smokers are no different from nonsmokers – they obey laws and care about the health of others. While any law that impacts personal behavior meets some initial resistance, smokers tend to comply when they understand the rationale. So New York’s well-publicized approach will succeed – as similar laws have in municipalities in California and the UK – because New Yorkers understand that any level of exposure to secondhand smoke is a health hazard.

Of course there are attention-seekers who want to make noise (like the ridiculous public pipe-cigar-cigarette “smoking hat-trick” protest) and even tobacco industry-prodded organizations that want to formally weaken the law.  But the silent majority of New Yorkers, including smokers and non-smokers and fathers like me, want a healthier city. We respect each other and will follow the law.

So I applaud those who made the short trip to the edge of any New York park or beach to indulge in their habit.  And to those who flout the law, we shouldn’t rely just on enforcement but should speak out for our right to clean air. My personal approach is to remind our smoking neighbors that, if they think it’s tough in New York, they should be thankful they don’t live in Nairobi, where smokers have not only been driven off the streets, out of the parks and off the beaches; they’ve also been driven into public smoking pens!

 

Steve Hamill is the Associate Director of Communications and Advocacy at World Lung Foundation, an international public health organization dedicated to reversing the global health epidemic of lung disease. He, his wife, and their son Benjamin live in Brooklyn.