In Defense of Trigger Warnings

Left: Kutztown University Director of Women's and Gender Studies Colleen Lutz Clemens. Right: The trigger warning that appears on her new syllabus. (Highlighting added.)

Left: Kutztown University director of Women’s and Gender Studies Colleen Lutz Clemens. Right: The trigger warning that appears on her new syllabus. (Highlighting added.)

Last week, the University of Chicago made national headlines when the school announced to incoming freshman that it does not support trigger warnings. (You can read the school’s letter to students here.) But Colleen Lutz Clemens, the director of women’s and gender studies at Kutztown University says that the University of Chicago got it all wrong. We reached out to her to learn more about the origin of trigger warnings, why she uses them, and why parents may be to blame for their existence. Read more »

How I (Painstakingly) Reformed My Picky-Eater Toddler

Picky-Eater Toddler Tips: Noah eating his food happily.

Behold! My picky-eater toddler, Noah, happily eating a sandwich. (I thought this would never happen.)

I think most first-time parents will sympathize with me when I tell you the following story. The rest of you might think I’m a tad nuts, but whatever. I’m willing to risk your judgment.

So here goes: It was 8:30 on a Monday night, about an hour after my nearly one-year-old son, Noah, had been put to bed for the night. My husband, Chris, was out of town for work, so I’d had a particularly long and logistics-laden day juggling a needy baby, yippy dog, work deadlines, etc. (Side note to single parents: I do not know how you do this day in and day out, and I salute you. I believe you are actual superheroes.)

In a word, I was tired. Really tired. And on that particular night, I’d battled with my kid for nearly an hour at dinnertime while he rejected — with gusto, I should add — every last item of food I put in front of him.  Read more »

Philly Mom Gets Nasty Anonymous Letter About Her Son With Autism

Left: The anonymous note. Right: Mayfair's Bonnie Moran with son Ryan, who has apparently been upsetting one of the neighbors.

Left: The anonymous note. Right: Mayfair’s Bonnie Moran with son Ryan, who has apparently been upsetting one of the neighbors.

Bonnie Moran has been through it. The 32-year-old Mayfair mom suffers from spina bifida, and two of her three sons are autistic. Still, she says that most of the time, she’s able to hold her head high and enjoy life. But last week was a bit rougher than normal. Read more »

Should Kids Be Banned from Bars?

South Street bar Tattooed Mom allows children of any age to hang out until 7 p.m., accompanied by a responsible adult, of course.

South Street bar Tattooed Mom allows children of any age to hang out until 7 p.m., accompanied by a responsible adult, of course.

It’s Thursday night. You’ve had a rough day at work. And all you really want to do is belly up to your favorite bar and have a few beers and talk about grownup things with your friends, as people are wont to do in drinking establishments. But when you get there, you are horrified to find a group of young kids sitting at the bar.

Read more »

Every Judgmental Facebook Commenter Owes the SEPTA Kids Mom an Apology

septa-kids-new-video-940x540

Since early this week, the city has been reeling over that viral video that shows a group of out-of-control young children on the Market-Frankford El. Commenters have been brutal toward both the kids and their mother. The children’s behavior was appalling, and many feel that the mother didn’t do anything to intervene. But new video has emerged that sheds more light on the incident. Read more »

Mom From SEPTA Kids Video Speaks Out: “He Came at Us, We Didn’t Come at Him”

Left: Screenshot from video of incident on SEPTA. Middle: Jessica Carrera with son. Right: The children from the video enjoying a snack at Old City's Wexler Gallery, shortly before the video was shot.

Left: Screenshot from video of incident on SEPTA. Center: Jessica Carrera with son. Right: The children from the video enjoying a snack at Old City’s Wexler Gallery, shortly before the video was shot.

UPDATE, 3/31/16: Read the latest on the SEPTA kids video.

By now, you’ve probably seen it: A disturbing viral video that shows a group of out-of-control young children on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford El. It has been all over TV news in the last 24 hours.

The group of African-American and Latino kids are seen spitting, cursing, and punching, seemingly targeting the person behind the camera, a white man named Patrick Coyle. Meanwhile, the woman accompanying the children stands quietly nearby.

Well, Philadelphia magazine has seen a different video, captured in the moments before the viral video began, and this new video shows a different perspective. The woman can be seen trying to get the kids in line, and Coyle — who continued to record the children after the woman says she and the kids repeatedly asked him to stop — can clearly be heard calling one of the children a “monkey kid.” Twice.

Here, the woman in the video, Jessica Carreras, 38, tells her side of the story. Carreras is the mother of the Latino children and the aunt of the two African-American kids. The children range in age from 7 to 11. We repeatedly reached out to Coyle, who did not respond to our requests for an interview. Read more »

Lesbian Poet Julie Gard Opens Up About Same-Sex Parenting in New Book

Julie Gard reading from her new book Home Studies.

Julie Gard reading from her new book, Home Studies.

​What inspired you to write this collection of poems, and how did you prepare for it?
I was inspired to write this book by relentless curiosity about the world around me and a love of the prose poem form. Preparation consisted of many years of a regular writing practice. I have a fortune taped up in my study: “Little and often makes much.” I wrote this book bit by bit over many years of journaling, generating, shaping, and revising. Read more »

Adorable Photos: Meet the Local Babies Born on Leap Day

There was a kid in my fifth grade class named Erik whose birthday was on February 29th, a.k.a. Leap Day. As elementary school kids, my classmates and I found no shortage of delight in ribbing poor little Erik about the fact that technically he was only three years old. I’m sure it drove him nuts.

So in the order of penance, I thought it fitting to officially commemorate the birthdays of the babies born yesterday — Leap Day — at several area hospitals. Hey, they only get birthdays once every four years, so we might as well make a big deal out of it.

Presenting: The Philly Babies of Leap Day 2016. Read more »

We Call B.S. on the Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe

The verdict is in.

The verdict is in.

UPDATE: We got a copy of the video showing the woman who comes into the cafe and threatens the barista with a bottle of spray cleaner. To view it, click here.

ORIGINAL:

On Thursday, we told you about The Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe in South Philadelphia. In short, B2 Cafe customer Francesca Depasquale took to Facebook to complain that a female B2 employee snatched a cell phone from the hands of her 3-year-old daughter, who was listening to Pink on it without headphones while other customers were in the cafe.

The mom’s post was shared hundreds of times, and an irate vigilante squad went on Yelp and other sites in an effort to tank B2’s ratings. One concerned citizen even showed up at the cafe, grabbed a bottle of spray cleaner, and threatened to bleach the barista’s eyes out. The enraged, bleach-toting woman seemed to say that the barista punched the girl, an accusation that was alluded to in some of the social media posts. But now that we’ve secured video footage of the mom’s entire visit to B2 Cafe, we can safely say that this was blown way out of proportion. Read more »

A Toddler, a Cell Phone, and One Big South Philly-Style Brouhaha

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia's B2 Cafe.

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia’s B2 Cafe.

UPDATE 2/12/2016 1:50pm: We watched the entire surveillance video of Francesca Depasquale’s 45-minute visit to B2 Cafe, and we call bullshit. For our full report on that video, click here.

We also got a copy of the video showing the woman who comes into the cafe and threatens the B2 Cafe barista with a bottle of spray cleaner. To view it, go here.

ORIGINAL:

In most places in these United States of America, an unpleasant experience in a restaurant is forgotten by the next morning. Maybe it leads to a bad Yelp review. Maybe. But in South Philadelphia, where shoveled-out parking spots are protected by an unspoken promise of bodily harm and where conflicts sometimes take the form of the “I’m funny how … like I’m a clown?” argument in Goodfellas, things are handled much, much differently. And so we bring you the story of what heretofore will be known as The Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe. Read more »

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