Thanks for the help Thank you for constantly producing such a well- written magazine.

My family and I have benefited from information from several columns, and I personally was grateful for the “Could your child have asthma” (March 2003) article. Coincidentally, my oldest son had an appointment with a pulmonologist, and I was reading the article as I was waiting for the doctor. The article presented me with additional questions I should ask. Thank you.

Your magazine is a staple in my home. I recommend it to everyone.



Family photos should be fun Recently I read the article “Taking Great Family Photos” by Larry McIntyre (February 2003). Photography can be a complicated art, which with a few simple rules can be made even easier for the casual photographer.

For the serious photographer, film speed does matter. However, the occasional photographer should not have to worry about film speed. I recommend using a good, all-around film rated at 400 speed. This film can be used both indoors and outdoors with good results.

Many amateur photographers wonder when to use flash. My answer is always! Today’s automatic cameras allow the untrained photographer to obtain good results indoors and outdoors in a variety of lighting conditions when using flash. When the subject is not well lit, the flash provides the main lighting. When there is enough available light, the camera’s flash will eliminate harsh shadows. In either case, the result is a better photograph, so go ahead and use your flash.

As Larry mentions, digital cameras have improved and are becoming less expensive. He recommends switching to digital. I don’t. Buying a digital camera can be an expensive proposition. Not only do you have to buy the camera, but you have to purchase all of the accessories (memory cards, computer software, maybe even a new computer). Many processing labs will scan your film onto a CD for about the same cost as printing your 4-by-6-inch prints. If you own a scanner, you can scan your photographs to e-mail to friends. Digital or film? For now the choice is yours.

The purpose of taking family photos is to record our families’ milestones along the way. Each picture does not have to be perfect. The important thing is to have fun.

HOWARD KIER Magical Moments Photography, Schaumburg


Thanks for the story but … We were thrilled Chicago Parent ran the factory tour story in your March issue and included the Jelly Belly Candy Co. One minor note: The company name is Jelly Belly Candy Co. The Herman Goelitz name listed in the story was the name of the California facility in years past, but the company name changed three years ago.

Thanks again for the fun story,

TOMI HOLT, public relations for Jelly Belly


Mom offers her advice I am writing to address a couple of letters sent in to your Smart Love advice page.

(Thank you, Piepers, for your sensitivity!) In response to R.H. in Elgin, (January 2003) whose son was upset by loud noises: such sensitivity can be a sign of giftedness. This proved to be true for my 7-year-old and for my sister’s son. They are both gifted and grew out of the noise sensitivy by age 6.

In the February issue, a mother wrote seeking help in dealing with her 5-year-old’s recurrent nightmares. After some trial and error, we realized that our younger daughter (also 5) only has nightmares when she needs to go to the bathroom. At first, she would deny that she needed to use the toilet. If I took her to the bathroom anyway, she would go and fall right back asleep. If I didn’t take her, she either wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep or she would fall back asleep and wake up soon with another bad dream. I try to prevent the whole ordeal by reminding my daughters to use the bathroom frequently during the day. (They have so many more important things to do!)

Hope I’ve helped someone. These letters have been on my mind since I read them.



Children are the best experts The recent positive and critical responses to the Piepers’ Smart Love column are worthy of comment. Sigmund Freud once suggested that psychoanalysis, like teaching or government service, was an “impossible profession.” I would add parenting to that list.

Expert opinions, often based on years of clinical and personal experience, can be useful to parents but are not always applicable to every child or family. Some children at 13 months and struggling with separation anxiety can understand when their parents tell them they are leaving briefly and some cannot. They may not understand words but respond to a tone of reassurance that can help manage their anxiety. Also, some new preschoolers might benefit from parents staying at the preschool, and some may not if the parent’s own anxiety is contributing to the child’s. Hopefully the school, along with parents, can individualize each parent-child situation and respond accordingly.

It is easy for parents to feel guilty because parenting stimulates the best and most difficult aspects of who we are and involves our own experiences as children with our parents. Feeling vulnerable amid our uncertainty is understandable. Our limitations are inevitable as we decide what feels “right” for us and our children while listening to the experts who provide only guidance. Ultimately, the “experts” are our children and if we are listening, they will be the best guides. At those moments, the “impossible profession” becomes limitless in possibilities.

MARK D. SMALLER, Ph.D. faculty and board member of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and the Institute for Clinical Social Work, Chicago


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