Chatter // In brief

Minnesota Private College Week hits June 25 to 29 this year, helping families and prospective students get better introduced to private colleges and universities. Sessions will run twice daily on 17 campuses statewide. Read more about it here at/; Auditions for Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, also known as GTCYS, begins June 1 and runs through the 9th, depending upon the instrument. Any student from elementary to highly advanced ability from grades 2 to 12 may audition with any orchestral instrument. Register online at; Minnesota Birth Center, the first free-standing birth center in Minneapolis, has opened at 2606 Chicago Avenue. Visit for more information; Minnesota mom Vickie Weber invented IceHuggy, an insulated sleeve for frozen treats. The IceHuggy sleeve is adjustable for a number of treats to keep goodies cold, and hands warm and clean. About $7 for two at; Creative Kidstuff is partnering with St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development by launching Kidstuff Toys for Children with Special Needs on the website. At The Ordway in St. Paul, a few of the 2012–2013 offerings have kid appeal. They include Billy Elliot The Musical (October); Elf The Musical (December) based on the movie, Elf, a heartwarming tale of Buddy, an orphan who mistakenly believes he’s one of Santa’s elves; and Sing-A-Long Sound of Music (May 2013), a screening of the classic film with interactive fun included. 

New book/ 

Easy To Love but Hard to Raise

Hopkins mother Marsha Partington and 31 other parent writers shared their efforts parenting children with a variety of brain-based disorders in Easy to Love but Hard to Raise/ Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories, a new book available from DRT Press. 

Partington writes of her struggle to parent a daughter with anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and an eating disorder, in her essay, Meeting Ed. When her daughter first began developing symptoms Partington sought help from teachers, therapists, and family, but she could not get anyone to listen until her daughter exhibited physical symptoms. “No one could see what I did,” she writes. “I felt like I was going crazy.” 

The book assures parents of children with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and behavioral challenges that they are not crazy, nor are they alone in their predicament.

Adrienne Bashista, co-editor of Easy to Love but Hard to Raise, is the mother of a son who is developmentally and intellectually delayed as a result of his birth mother’s alcohol consumption. 

Bashista says, “Parents look around—at school, at soccer, at family parties—and they see no one else struggling with behavior challenges the way that they do. It’s isolating. But we want these parents to know that there is a huge community of moms and dads out there who are experiencing the same stresses and emotions [and] who face the unrelenting pressure of trying to help a child who may have intense mood swings, tantrums, sleep problems, or a complete lack of impulse control. Because these disabilities are invisible, the assumption is that the child’s problematic behavior is because of poor parenting. … In reality, children with these issues often function as well as they do because of intensive, constant behavioral intervention.”

You can find the book at for about $13.