EDITOR’S NOTE A Walk on the Child Side

Here I am, reading our Whole Kid Catalog for the second time and marveling at what has become of the kid biz in Dallas. Then I come to an item about the many things that Nicholson Hardie has to offer child gardeners.

I love the idea of children communing with nature, but I’m from the kids-should-get-their-hands-dirty school, so I wince a bit at the idea of child-sized gardening gloves. But who am I to judge such niceties? I read on, curious and fascinated. Any remaining openmind-edness flies out the window, however, when I get to the concept of Kidseed- packages of seeds especially designed for children’s gardens. Are we talking baby cabbages and petunias only a 6-year-old could love?

Since the staff at Nicholson Hardie seems to have a good sense of what their customers want-I always find what I’m looking for-I’m afraid some of my fellow Baby Boomers are about to embarrass us all again. Soon they’ll be asking for child-sized compost bins, child-sized azaleas and child-sized packages of sphaghnum moss for those child-sized hanging baskets.

OK, I’m getting carried away and I have to be careful. We alienated several parents about a year ago when we ran a humor piece on where kids don’t belong. The angry letters were hard to ignore.

So now we’re giving you this special issue (see page 38), with just about every conceivable child-oriented resource in Dallas, many of which may be new to you. Copy editor Catherine Newton was the parent in charge of this project, and despite her claims to being less than expert at this child-raising stuff (see page 44), she has gathered a staggering amount of information, with a particular focus on children 3 through pre-teen. After that, we’re not sure we can help you.

Besides the sources, we also offer other parenting perspectives from senior writers Rod Davis, a single parent, and Glenna Whitley, mother of two boys, and newspaper columnist Nancy Davenport, whose child has Down syndrome.

During our research, we discovered that kids are the inspiration lor a lot of creative entrepreneurs in Dallas, in both the educational and entertainment fields: One science teacher provides great party services with an archaeological twist, while a renowned storyteller will help you introduce your children to a simpler time.

Our listings of various classes and onetime activities include a Free But Fun category for those of you who refuse to go into debt every time you leave the house, and you may be surprised at how extensively Dallas’ arts and cultural community has tapped into the child market.

Karl Schaeffer, the father who appears on our cover, is the arts-in-education coordinator at the Dallas Children’s Theater, where he teaches Making Movies (summer) and TV Sitcom (spring and fall). Schaeffer also travels to classrooms across the Metroplex doing “creative dramatics.” In other words, he makes learning fun with such plays as Scriberella and The Magic Apostrophe, a recent production at Rose-mont Elementary.

Says Schaeffer of his job: “I keep being refreshed and reminded how much fun it is to be a kid.”

I REGRET TO NOTE THAT THIS IS MY LAST column for D. By the time you read this, Anne Warren will have taken charge as acting editor and I’ll be settling into the San Francisco area as executive editor of Sunset magazine. After 12 years in Dallas, I can’t begin to list all the things I’ll miss. And I don’t want to think about the things I never made time to appreciate. So I’ll keep it simple: Thank you all for the good times and the good wishes.


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