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Sanity-Saving New Site for Parents

So as I’ve mentioned, I’ve
been stressing over not having Maddie in preschool yet -and thanks,
by the way, to everyone who wrote in after yesterday’s blog
with encouragement! I really appreciate it. Anyway, a few weeks ago
I decided to introduce some more structured, age-appropriate
learning play into Maddie’s life to make up for the preschool
thing. I mean, we do lots of letters and sounds and colors and
such, but I wanted to challenge her a bit more, start getting her
ready for “real” learning. And I wasn’t sure
which products out there were helpful, which products were a waste
of money, and so on. Where’s a girl to turn?

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to go far. I’ve got
my trusty Mommy Focus Group and I cracked open my address book. And
top of the list for me is my guy pal and fellow parent Graham, the
perfect person to turn to with this kind of question. Why? Because
Graham is a former high-finance guy who gave it all up to become a
public school elementary teacher, who gave that up to become a
stay-at-home dad. So he’s got some unique insight into
helping raise a child from an educational background.

Oh yes, and his wife, my friend Rebecca, is a pediatric fellows in
developmental pediatrics.

Yep, a teacher and a baby doctor –
the perfect combination for me to harass with questions. I dashed
off my questions, looking for good, solid, age-appropriate
recommendations, all the while grumbling that there should be a
site to do this sort of thing for me.

And it turns out, there is.

My good friend Graham saw this same need and, with the help of
another dad, started a new website – href="http://tumblon.com" target="_blank">Tumblon
which launches, coincidentally, today. Graham let me poke around a
bit, and I gotta tell you, the site is awesome.

Tumblon is a site for parents of kids age zero to five, and
it’s a great place to turn for information, advice, product
recommendations, and even a place to blog or store photos. Tumblon
gives you customized developmental information about your children
and lets you record milestones, write stories, upload photos, and
keep family and friends updated on your children's growth.

I gave myself a tour of the site, and found plenty of goodies. You
can start a page for your own family – decide how much info
you want public, and how much stays with you – and presto,
you’ve got a ready-made blog and online diary. They’ve
got over 500 developmental milestones listed, and you can learn
more about them or check them off your list as your child hits each
milestone. The more info you enter into the program, the more the
program tailors itself to make appropriate recommendations for your
child. Books, toys, gear, and more, sorted by age and
developemental stages. I mentioned the site to a childless friend
and she begged for the link; she sees it as a great solution to
constantly guessing about gifts for friends’ toddlers.

Why did Graham start the site? Same reason I went to him –
there’s not one easy place to find this information, and as a
parent, you need fast, easy, and reliable. Think about this –
remember all the times you sat on the playground watching other
people’s kids, comparing them to your own? We all do it, and
why? There are the CompetiMommys out there, but most of us compare
because we are looking for some sort of yardstick, some way of
measuring our kid and making sure he’s doing ok. When a mom
watched Cora struggling up playground steps at 11 months old, she
looked at her larger son, turned to me with a worried frown, and
said, “How old is she?” “Eleven months,” I
said, and saw her frown deepen. “My son’s twelve
months, and he’s not walking at all,” she said.
“That’s totally normal,” I reassured her,
“and nothing to worry about. My daughter’s a very early
walker, and your son’s totally right on track, so rest
easy!” Her frown smoothed out, she smiled gratefully, and
went back to playing with her son.

What should my daughter be able to do by now? Am I stimulating her
enough? Is there a great book out there to draw my son into
reading? These are questions we all have, and Tumblon has answers.
Head to the site, and you can have access to all the doctors and
parenting experts my friend Graham has tapped for Tumblon, without
any of the effort he had to put into it.

And as a bonus, the whole blogging thing is really well done.
It’s easy to upload pictures, and as you click off a
milestone – say, “Jumped on one foot” – the
site offers you a chance to jot down a funny story about that
milestone, or include a picture, easy peasy. And in a couple months
they’ll allow you to upload video clips as well, safely and
securely. I’m hoping to get my brother going on this; with my
nephew Dean all the way across the country, I’d feel closer
to him if I could see their blog, and know this is easy enough for
them to do in their precious spare time.

So take a few minutes to check out target="_blank">Tumblon, and see what they’ve got to
offer. You’ll quickly find yourself bookmarking the page,
returning to it again and again for advice that doesn’t make
you feel stupid, doesn’t talk down to you, and doesn’t
try to scare you into teaching your two-year-old Russian or making
her learn the flute. Solid, reassuring, reliable advice.

One-stop advice shopping for the harried parent. Think of it this
way: I’m lending you my guy pal Graham, and all the other
experts he’ll bring along with him. The perfect parent to
bump into on the cyber-playground, ask a yardstick milestone
question of, and get reassuring answers from in return.

All without having to pack a snack.


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