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Moms Talk Q&A: What To Do About Winter Break??

Every parent has questions. Patch's Moms Council writers have answers, or at least some common sense, often leavened with a little humor, courtesy of Mama Dearest. Read on!

Los Altos Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.

Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a quip about the latest parenting hot topic. Is the “Tiger Mother's” way the best way? Do you need simple ideas to help you maintain your sanity while the kids are underfoot? Mama Dearest has the answer! Or at least an answer. Ask her for advice on whatever parenting issue has you spinning these days. In the future, we'll mix it up with our Moms Council to provide a variety of voices.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today. 

Question: This year has already flown by and the upcoming Winter Recess has snuck up on me. I have not signed my kids up for camp or anything, and Feb. 21 is just around the corner! It seems like every camp in Los Altos is already full. I thought I could maybe do some crafts on my own with them, but I am afraid they will be bored after the first day. What am I going to do? 

Signed,

Winter break loser

Mama Dearest: I hear you, sister, and I feel your pain! Let me tell you that my own three kids are going to attend the “Be quiet and let mommy get this report filed, or you will spend the day in your room!” Winter Camp. This is a follow-up session to the “Keep your hands to yourself while I am on this conference call, or Santa will not be coming to our house!” camp they attended this past December break. Whose idea was it to have all these breaks in the first place????

What to do, what to do? For starters, just steer clear of all those uber-organized Tiger Moms who filled all those camp spots, because they will just annoy you, trust me.  You can find them serenely meditating in spandex at or quietly sipping a latte while at . Just ignore them as you take your car full of screaming kids and make a beeline for , where all the other ill-prepared mothers await your arrival.

Do I think you can do some crafts to keep them occupied? Sure, who among us has not been lured in by the seemingly easy $1 craft section, thinking that would occupy your kids for hours upon hours? The real question is who among us can actually read the Mandarin directions that accompany said crafts? It should keep them busy for at least an hour, so give it a go—just don’t send me the bill for the ER to remove the pony beads from your little one’s nose. 

A great idea I did one year was to team up with four friends, and we each took a day and had “camp” for free at each other’s house. We had, like, 12 kids between us, and it was not so bad; the kids loved it, and it was close to free. Honestly, you can put up with anything in your house for three hours when you consider the break you get on the other four days that week. 

Not your style? Well, not all is lost. I just got off the phone with the wonderful staff at (650-947-9247), and they still have spots available, with lots of choices, half day or full day, all week or selected days. They do arts, crafts, free play, dress-up, park trips, etc. Prices were reasonable, starting at $176 for half days all week. Even Mountain View Recreation and Parks has very reasonably priced programs for nonresidents.

Seriously, though, no matter where your kids end up, do take some time to enjoy some family time this break. I keep hearing a rumor that they won’t be young forever!

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

David Hall February 14, 2011 at 07:43 PM
GREAT column, Kat. Funny, informative ... and true. Turns out, the kids AREN'T young forever. That's the realization we're coming to, looking at the 6-foot hulk with the size 13 shoes and baritone voice draped across our sofa. Enjoy them while you can ...
Elizabeth February 14, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Right on! This is great! And funny. And true. As an Auntie to sweet, darling little ones, I know that vacations are both fabulous and a major pain-in-the-. Thanks for the great ideas! And fantastic sense of humor.
L.A. Chung (Editor) February 14, 2011 at 09:06 PM
And, silly me. I signed my kid up for winter break camp and then discovered three days ago that his preschool doesn't have winter break, like the Los Altos School District does, (his preschool is on LASD grounds). I only have to send him to one-day-at-home camp on President's Day. Doh!
EV February 19, 2011 at 07:53 PM
Love, love, love your articles and that great sense of humor!

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