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Monday, December 17, 2012

Bridgewater Library Youth Services Newsletter–Newtown and Christmas Week Edition

Holiday Hours: The Bridgewater Library will be CLOSED Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.  We will be OPEN New Year’s Eve 9-5.

Looking for some last minute good book gift ideas? Bridgewater Librarians are happy to consult with you to find some perfect selections. Give us a call at 908 526-4016 x126 and we’ll have some suggestions ready.

Responding Put On Your Oxygen Mask First

Photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani / Foter / CC BY

It has been a tough weekend for everyone who has ever loved a child. If you are struggling with coping with the events at Newtown last Friday, this column might help:

Put On Your Oxygen Mask First  Dec 17, 2012 | Melissa Taylor

“I feel overwhelmed, anxious, distracted,” I explained.

“We are creative beings,” said the woman. “We can create our state of being. We can choose who and how we’re going to be . . . at least as something that is possible for ourselves.”

I felt her words sink into my soul’s dark nooks, resonating with their truth.

Only this was before.

Before the world changed.

And now the world is off-kilter. Things will never be the same.

She continued, ”Look at what’s missing in your way of being. Think of what you can be . . . “

I considered the possibility of not being overwhelmed or anxious. Hmmm. I thought about what I wanted to be.





Of course, like Dorothy, it had been there all along.

In any moment, in this exact moment, no matter my circumstances, I could be . . . peaceful, . . . I could be different.

I opened up to the possibilities. I that I was all those things.

And I was.

. . .

Then Friday came.

Her words still resonated within my spirit.

You and I do get to choose even in the worst of evil circumstances.

How are we going to be right now with a horrible school shooting just days ago?





We can hold onto the possibility of being courageous.

Even if we hold it in our shaking, cupped hands.

Because it’s who we are that affects our kids the most. We must take care of ourselves. Put on your oxygen mask, my friends. Breathe in deeply.

Lets hold for ourselves the possibilities of who we want to be. In crisis. In sorrow. In trauma.

And by thinking who we are, being our best selves, we give everything to our kids.

Right now when you are reading this. The past is gone. The present is not here. Be here with me. Breathe slowly.

Say this with me:

I choose to be bold.

I choose to be loving.

I choose to be calm.

Even if I am very sad.

I am able to . . .

think and respond thoughtfully,

take care of my soul’s needs,

choose who I am today,

show love to myself and others, and

ask for help when I need it.

For most of us who have kept all but the very minimum of information from our children, it is we who are most affected, not our kids.

You matter just as much as your kids. Take care of yourself, too.

Keep the oxygen mask on. Don’t forget to breathe.

I love you, you are not alone,  Melissa

@ the Library: Programs for Children:

Sing-along: For the Holidays (All Ages) Tuesday, December 18th
at 10:00 am
No registration required Come tap your toes and jingle our bells to holiday tunes!


Board Games are available at the library all day Saturday December 23rd.  Come by and take a rest from holiday stress playing a game with a friend or family member.


Retro Game Night (All Ages) (For all ages—families welcome!) Wednesday, December 26th from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm No registration required It's a blast from the past! Come to our Retro Game Night and play video games from the past 30 years! We will raffle off gift cards to Game Stop! And yes, there will be snacks!

New Years at Noon (Ages 3+) Friday, December 28th
from 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Registration begins December 14

We're ringing in the new year a few days early! Join us for stories, games, crafts, and our very own countdown to noon, complete with a New Year's ball!

Looking toward January 2013:


Storytimes resume the week of January 7th. Family Storytimes (ages 2-6) Tuesdays at 10 and 1:30, Toddler Times (ages 18-36 months) Wednesdays at 10 & 11 and Thursdays at 10:30 & 11:30, Baby Times (Birth-18 months) Thursdays at 9:30. No registration is required but we ask that you only attend one session each week. Full details are posted our January Calendar or you can call us at 908 526-4016 x126. We also offer a satellite storytime/craft on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. at the Neshanic Station Library.

Gotta Dance Classes: Angelina Ballerina (Ages 4-5) Monday, January 7  from 3:30 pm - 4:15 pm  Registration is required and begins December 26 Story and dance class led by an instructor from the Gotta Dance school.

Gotta Dance Classes: Brontorina (Ages 6-8)  Monday, January 7  from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Registration is required and begins December 26  Story and dance class led by an instructor from the Gotta Dance school.


Rocket Readers: 'Poppleton in Winter' (Grades 1-2) Wednesday, January 9 from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm  Registration is required and begins December 19  An exciting program for brand new readers! At each program we will discuss a book, play some games or create a story related craft. Students should read the book prior to the program.  Copies of the books will be available at the Youth Services Reference Desk.  Poppleton In Winter  By Cynthia Rylant    Join Poppleton the pig in three wintery adventures. Learn how he makes a new friend after an icicle accident, creates a bust of Cherry Sue, and gets a pleasant surprise from his pals.

Tail Waggin' Tutors: Children Reading to Dogs (For Children of All Ages) on Thursday, January 10th. 4-5pm. Telephone or In-Person Registration Only starting Dec. 27th. Call the library at 908 526-4016 x126 for more information. Did you know that dogs like listening to stories as much as kids do?Come to the Bridgewater Library for Tail Waggin’ Tutors, our new program where children will have the opportunity to practice their reading skills by reading a story to Xena the Therapy Dog, a friendly, six-year-old chocolate labradoodle. Each child will have 10 minutes to read a favorite story to his or her new, canine friend. For more information, please visit www.tdi-dog.org.

Lego Club (Grades K-6) Thursday, January 10  4:30 pm - 5:30 pm   Registration is required and begins December 27. Hey LEGO fans, here's a club just for you! Get together with other LEGO-maniacs, share
ideas and tips on building, and have a great time! Library LEGOS will be available for building, so you do not need to bring your own.Please Note: Parents are welcome to stay; however, younger siblings cannot be permitted to join this program.

Music with Miss Jamie (Ages 2-5) Saturday, January 12  10:30-11 am,  repeats from 11:15-11:45Registration is required and begins December 28. Join Jamie Fawcett as she helps shake away what’s left of the winter blues with some  upbeat, fun, and exciting music that’ll have you up and dancing around in no time!

There are ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS at other system libraries for children & teens…find their online calendars under the “events/programs” tab on our home page. Planning ahead for January? -- Check out our library calendar.

There are ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS at other system libraries for children & teens…find their online calendars under the “events/programs” tab on our home page.

If you register for a program and realize that you won’t be able to come, please call (908 526-4016x126) or email us (bwljuv@sclibnj.org) as early as possible so we can make someone on the waitlist very happy. Next time that waitlisted participant might be your child!

@ Bridgewater Library for Teens:

TAB Meeting (Grades 6-8) Tuesday, Tuesday, December 18th 5:30-6:30pm TAB Meeting (Grades 9-12) Tuesday Tuesday, December 18th 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM Registration required
Do you want to make a difference at your library? Do you have suggestions for programs, new books, movies, or video games? Then come to one of our upcoming T.A.B. meetings! Community service hours will be awarded for attendance and snacks will be served!

Retro Game Night (All Ages) (For all ages—families welcome!) Wednesday, December 26th from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm No registration required It's a blast from the past! Come to our Retro Game Night and play video games from the past 30 years! We will raffle off gift cards to Game Stop! And yes, there will be snacks!

5th & 6th Grade Volunteers Monday January 7th from 7-8pm Registration required. ATTENTION STUDENTS IN GRADES 5 AND 6: Here is your chance to make a difference by volunteering at the library! You can help the library with special projects including creating bookmarks for young children, organizing and tidying up the Children’s Room, and much more!

clip_image031_thumb_thumb_thumb1_thu[2]Open Mic Cafe Night (Ages 13+) Thursday, January 10th From 7:00pm – 8:30pm Registration Required to perform. Think you’ve got what it takes to get up on stage in front of your peers with nothing but your voice and guitar? Want to share your poetry, comedy, or original music? Then this is your night! Join us for this one of a kind experience, and help local musicians and writers get their voices heard. Depending on registration, artists will receive 10-15 minute slots to play music or recite poetry. Sign ups will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please check back for more registration information. **You only need to register if you are interested in performing.**

Want more info about upcoming programs? Check out our January teen calendar here.

Around the Community:



22nd Annual Holiday Model Train Exhibit

WHEN: On View Dec. 1-28
Mon – Fri 11 AM-4 PM; Sat & Sun 2-4 PM; CLOSED CHRISTMAS DAY ~ DEC. 25

WHERE: Barron Arts Center, 582 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge
free to the public but donations are always greatly appreciated. Exhibit is available to schools & groups. Call 732.634.0413 to make a reservation.

For the 22nd year, the Barron Arts Center presents its Holiday Train Show. This exquisitely detailed model train display is a treat for all ages, and many recognizable landmarks are represented, from Hershey Park to our beloved Jersey Shore. The display of over 300 feet of track will feature a moving operating playground and three towns including Main Street U.S.A., a small town in the snowy mountains, The Boardwalk with a Ferris Wheel and Tilt-A-Whirl surrounded by an operating monorail. Eleven different trains will be used in the display with four trains operating at all times.

In the spirit of giving, The Barron Arts Center will be collecting non-perishable food items for The Mayor’s Food Bank & supplies for The Woodbridge Animal Shelter.

Looking for more things to do?

New Jersey efamily news

For more events, check out their web calendar. Check out their links for Holiday Theater -- 14 sensational holiday performances in NJ. Here’s a sampling:

the nutcracker balletThe Nutcracker

Experience the magic of the Nutcracker ballet on the following dates: Dec. 20–24 MPAC, Morristown 973-539-8008; Dec. 22–23 State Theatre, New Brunswick (shown) 732-246-7469

a christmas carolA Christmas Carol

This classic story reminds us that the holidays are a time of kindness, forgiving, and charity.

  • Dec. 2-28 McCarter Theatre, Princeton 609-258-2787
  • Dec. 7–23 The Chatham Playhouse, Chatham 973-635-7363

a little princess christmas
A Little Princess Christmas

Dec. 22, 10 am
Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn 973-376-4343

Spirited Sara Crewe goes from riches to rags when her doting father disappears, leaving her in the clutches of the evil Miss Minchin. Now it’s up to Sara and her friend Becky to save themselves while keeping up hope that Captain Crewe will return to save their Christmas. Ages 7 and up.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Nov. 23–Dec. 23
Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 4 pm The Growing Stage, Netcong

This presentation, recommended for the entire family, is a musical stage adaptation of the 1964 TV special. Set in a magical, holiday world in and around the North Pole—populated by talking snowmen and flying reindeer—this production features well-known Christmas songs and evokes the enduring spirit of Christmas.


The Sound of Music will be performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn through December 30. For information and tickets, call 973.376.4343 or visit www.papermill.org.

Sound of Music PPH  018.The Sound of Music.Music by Richard Rodgers.Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.Papermill Playhouse 11/20/12.James Brennan (Director/Choreographer).Scenic Designer James Fouchard.Costume Coordinator Amanda Seymour.Lighting Designer F. Mitchell Dana..© T Charles Erickson.http://tcharleserickson.photoshelter.com.tcepix@comcast.net."The hills are alive with the sound of music." Okay, it's not the Austrian Alps, but more like the Short Hills that "rise" above Millburn where, just in time for the holidays, the Paper Mill Playhouse has mounted an enchanting production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical fable about the von Trapp Family Singers, The Sound of Music. With beautiful melodies, sprightly dancing, a suspenseful plot and polished performances, it's the perfect gift for the entire family.

Director James Brennan has assembled a top-notch production team to provide a "canvas" for this enchantment. Read More of this Review.

Folk Project Special Concerts banner

Trout Fishing in AmericaTrout Fishing in America Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood ~ Music for people who take their fun seriously ~
Friday, December 28, 8:00 pm
Morristown Unitarian Fellowship 21 Normandy Heights Road Morristown, NJ Tickets: $17.00 in advance $20.00 at the door (if available)

TFIA makes "Music for People Who Take Their Fun Seriously." The band is Ezra Idlet on guitar teamed with Keith Grimwood on bass. Their music is an infectious mix of folk/pop and family music, tempered by the diverse influences of reggae, Latin, blues, jazz, and classical music. The concert on December 28 will be folk/pop. Children and family groups are welcome. Advanced tickets can be purchased through our web site or using the PayPal button above.. There are no discounted tickets for children. If you have any questions please call 732-841-1348. For more information about TFIA, please visit their web site.


Children’s and Adult classes available. Check out their offerings in their brochure. More information about exhibitions and classes also available on their website. http://ccabedminster.org/





The Children's Museum (of Somerset County NJ)

The museum is in the cafeteria of the PeopleCare Center, 120 Finderne Avenue, Bridgewater (just south of Rt 28); entrance is in the back of the building. Admission to the program is $3 per child; there is no charge for those in need. For additional information, please call the museum at 908-595-0001.


There are lots more things to do around our community. Look at the “Useful Websites for Families” (on the right side of this blog – click the headline if you are reading this as an email) for many more options!

Banner 201210

At this time of year, we hear a lot about magical reindeer that pull Santa's sleigh.  But the real reindeer that live in the Arctic don't fly.  They just eat, drink, walk, run, poop, and do everything else mammals do.  Also known as caribou,reindeer live in cold northern places like Canada, Finland, Siberia, and Alaska, although thousands of years ago they lived as far south as Tennessee (in the U.S.) and Spain (in Europe).  They are one of the bigger types of deer, with the males weighing 400 pounds and even the females topping 250 pounds.  They're also incredibly strong and are in fact used by people to pull sleighs through the snow...and if they could fly, they could probably pull an even heavier load.

Wee ones (counting on fingers): Reindeer are the only kind of deer where both the males and females have antlers, with 2 antlers each.  If you have 3 reindeer, how many antlers do they have all together?

Little kids: The reindeer pictured here looks like it has about 17 points on each antler.  If the two antlers are the same, how many points are there in total?  Bonus: A reindeer's antlers can be as tall as 53 inches!  How does that compare to your height?

Big kids: Real reindeer can't fly, but they can run at top speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.  If a reindeer kept up that speed all day, how many miles would it travel? (Hint: a day has 24 hours.) Bonus: If Earth is about 10,000 miles around at the Arctic Circle, how many hours would it take a real reindeer to get all the way around Earth up there? (Hint: dividing by 50 gives you twice as big an answer as dividing by 100.) 
Answers here.

Let Your Fingers Do More Walking:


How to Talk to Kids About Newtown

How to help children and teens face their fears about school shootings—without freaking them out even more. —By Kiera Butler


On Friday morning, 27 people were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Among the fatalities are 20 children, 6 adults, and the shooter. We're following this story closely with regular updates here.

It seems safe to say that we'll all remember the tragedy that unfolded on Friday at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut for the rest of our lives. The news has been full of disturbing images: scared kids, guns, emergency responders, and families in the throes of grief. It's enough to upset any adult. But how does exposure to news like this affect kids?

I found some hints in a 2011 paper, published in the journal American Psychologist, in which psychologists Roxane Cohen Silver of the University of California-Irvine, and Nancy Eisenberg of Arizona State University offer a useful roundup of recent research on kids' reactions to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While 9/11 was a different kind of tragedy than the Sandy Hook shooting, the research still sheds some light on how children process trauma.

One of the main takeaways: Watching a lot of TV coverage of frightening events does not seem to help kids (or adults) cope. Take this 2007 study out of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in which researchers observed that children who watched the most TV were more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD in the months after September 11. The researchers concluded that "Media viewing of tragic events is sufficient to produce PTSD symptoms in vulnerable populations such as children." Similarly, in 2008,researchers from Columbia University's psychiatry department "found children's television use to be associated with elevated perceptions of personal vulnerability to world threats (i.e., crime, terrorism, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods)." 

And it's not just kids that react negatively to graphic video and images. For a forthcoming study, Silver analyzed the effect of news coverage of 9/11 and the Iraq War on adults. Her team found that individuals who repeatedly exposed themselves to disturbing images were at greater risk of developing PTSD over the next two to three years. Subjects who went on to watch a lot of TV coverage of the Iraq war had an even greater likelihood of PTSD symptoms. "Based on my research, there is no psychological benefit to watching repeated pictures of horror," says Silver.

Kids' response to traumatic events will depend in large part upon their age and level of psychological development. "Most kids under the age of 10 don't yet fully realize that they can't control other people's actions," says Ginny Sprang, a child psychiatrist and the executive director of the University of Kentucky's Center on Trauma and Children. "If kids are forced to confront this fact before they're ready, it can be very anxiety-producing. For kids who are especially sensitive, you could see regression. If they are potty trained, they might slip up. They might want to sleep in the same bed as mom and dad. They might have separation anxiety at school."

So what's the best way to talk to your kids about the Sandy Hook tragedy? "Children tend to have the myth of invulnerability, this idea that we're safe in the world," says Sprang. "So when something like this happens, the first thing a child thinks is, could this happen to me? Am I safe?"

While encouraging kids to ask questions and talk about their feelings helps, research suggests that parents' behavior might be even more important.

Sprang recommends that parents encourage kids to speak up about their feelings. "Ask kids how they feel, and what questions they have. Tell kids about everything that schools do to keep them safe, that there are adults on the job working to take care of kids." Tailor your conversation to your child's age level; while older kids and teenagers might be able to handle a conversation about the politics of gun control, abstract ideas will be less useful for kids in primary grades, who will want to know whether they are safe.

It's also worth noting that while encouraging your kids to ask questions and talk about their feelings helps, research suggests that parents' behavior might be even more important. "Parents can model healthy adaptive coping," says Sprang. "So if parents are highly anxious and distressed, kids will be as well." Indeed, a 2010 Columbia University study found increased levels of PTSD—and even major clinical depression—in New York City kids whose parents had restricted their travel in the six months after 9/11. By the same coin, a 2004 study in the journal Applied Developmental Science found that teenagers whose parents displayed "positive affect" after 9/11 were more likely also to display positive affect. The researchers concluded that "Parents who show positive emotional states may model positive ways of coping with stressful life events." 

To recap: Limit your child's (and your own) exposure to disturbing news coverage. Talk to your kids, and reassure them that everyone is working hard to keep them safe. Try to send them this message of confidence not only with your words, but with your own behavior, as well. And hug them.

Of course, this troubling fact remains: Incidents like the horrific shooting in Newtown are happening with frightening frequency. That parental positive affect that those researchers described? It's becoming harder and harder to muster.

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