Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about drowning. I took my eyes away for seconds to check on my 4-year-old swimmer. "Great job!" I shouted out, so proud that he had reached the other side of the pool without any help. He was coming along quite well as a swimmer! I wasn't surprised; we've practically lived at the pool since he was 2 years old! Related: If hospitals don't teach new moms how to breastfeed, who will? I turned my head back to my 3-year-old whose quiet desperation was begging for me to grab him. He was bobbing for a breath. His hands weren't splashing. Without a word, his wide panicked eyes were imploring mommy to HELP! Seconds ago, he was playing on the steps. Seconds ago, while my head was turned, he had decided to swim to mommy. Seconds ago, I didn't realize I may only have seconds left. I pulled him up and rushed him to the side of the pool. He gasped and coughed. I had been right there with him the whole time, but with one moment it could've been bad. So bad. It all could've happened so fast. We were lucky. This week, the BabyCenter community has been abuzz with an article about what to look for in drowning—the first paragraph alone should shock anyone into reading and memorizing the whole article to learn more about what to look for when it comes to drowning. None of this is new though, BabyCenter blogger Kristina Sauerwein wrote about her experience a couple of years ago in the post "In a blink, my son began to drown." "Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect," writes Mario Vittone, author of "Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning." Drowning is quick and silent. Have you ever had a close call while swimming with your kids?
When Anita Padilla of the FOX Chicago Morning News Team was pregnant, she didn’t feel well. But because she had always heard about the ugly symptoms of pregnancy, it didn’t occur to her that something may be wrong. She just chalked it up to regular pregnancy pain and did her best to deal with it.
Turns out, she was suffering from Preeclampsia, a sometimes fatal disorder that is found in one out of 12 pregnant women today. She went on to deliver a happy, healthy baby, but only because it was caught in time.
Last week, my mom and I participated in the Chicago Promise Walk with Anita, who emceed the event as a way to help spread the word. The Promise Walk is an annual nationwide fundraiser hosted by The Preeclampsia Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to Preeclampsia.
We walked alongside survivors as well as families who have lost wives, sisters, sons, daughters and mothers to Preeclampsia.
Being in the midst of this made this so much more real to me. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be when one of the best days of your life turns into a living nightmare.
It was heart-wrenching to see children planting pinwheel flowers in the ground to honor the living survivors and remember those lost. One of the flowers had the name Shelly Warner Bridgewater written on it. I learned later that Shelly passed away in 2005, one week after delivering her daughter Hailey seven weeks early.
Well meaning and kind strangers strike up conversations with me quite often when I’m out with my 9 month old baby. Which is great, I like talking to people. But it seems like I get one question more than anything else, “Is she sleeping all night for you?”
Unless I’m looking at someone who looks like she’s at the same stage of parenting as I am, pushing a stroller with a little one, I try to avoid the topic of sleep. I smile and just say, “she’s a great baby!” Which she is, she is a great baby, she just wakes up at night.
I’m done with sleep drama and obsessing about sleep. I’ve been there. With my first I read somewhere that babies can sleep through the night at six weeks. Luckily for him he complied and started sleeping at seven weeks old. I was spoiled. I was spoiled and thought I did everything right and was a sleep expert. I would happily and probably obnoxiously give sleep advice and tell people how *I* did it.
When my second came along he didn’t sleep through the night. I was so confused. I did everything the same. I had my sleep routine, a perfectly timed nap schedule, blasted the white noise, I swaddled and shushed and rocked. I researched and read and researched and read some more determined to fix what was wrong. I tried everything and was emotionally exhausted from caring and worrying about sleep. And then suddenly he was 15 months old and sleeping all night and it was like the sleep issues never happened.
So with my third, I just started going with the flow. If he woke up, I trudged into the nursery and nursed him to sleep. It was the path of least resistance. I decided it was okay and it became okay. It lasted until he was around a year and then suddenly he too was sleeping all night.
My 9 month old is my fourth and final baby. And she wakes up at night. Right now she’ll usually stir around midnight and then again at 3:00 am or 5:30 am. I can basically sleepwalk into her room, scoop her up, snuggle her and nurse her for five minutes. I put her back in her crib, shuffle back and fall into bed.
Many mornings I’ll wake up and I’m not even completely sure how many times she woke up. It’s just another part of my day. She naps and she’s happy, so I’m happy.
I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me. Maybe it’s just looking at her next to my eight year old. I have no idea how he’s not the little one in the crib crying for me. I swear he was just her size yesterday and now he’s such a big kid. Maybe it’s the fact that she kicks her legs with joy and stops crying as soon as she hears the door creak open. Maybe I’m just too worn down from caring about homework and sports practices and if my kids are making friends or doing well in school to worry about something I know will end with time.
So when people ask me about sleep, I want to tell them all that. That she doesn’t sleep all night, but it’s fine and that it’s just a phase that will be over before I can blink. That sometimes the quiet moments at night are the most peaceful times of my day. That she may not sleep all night, but she’s the best and sweetest baby on earth. That I have heard all the sleep advice in the world and none of it could make me not walk into that room when I hear her cry. It really is fine.
Am I alone in deciding not to worry about sleep?
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about what moms regret teaching their kids.
When you're a new parent, seeing your baby learn new things is nothing short of exhilarating! You photograph it, get it on video, share it on Facebook, blog about it, and create a great scrapbook. As they get older, though, sometimes what they pick up works against you. Moms in BabyCenter's community were talking about the things they regret teaching (intentionally or not) their children. I've pulled together a list of the top 10.
- Teaching them how to spell. Buh-bye days of c-o-o-k-i-e and S-a-n-t-a.
- How to open the refrigerator. Clean up on aisle four!
- The word "boobie." It's cute until you're in church and somebody wants a snack.
- The words to any children's song you don't want to hear a bazillion times.
- How to blow raspberries. It's absolutely adorable until you're covered in spit for the 10th time today.
- How to turn on the iPad. Tech addiction obviously starts early.
- Sarcasm. It's just so precious. Seriously.
- How to open doors. "Mommy, what are you and Daddy doing in here?"
- How to say "no" and other useful (sometimes profane) phrases.
- How to unbuckle a car seat. What seemed like a handy thing to know turns parents into an octopus while driving and hearing that unsettling click.
What can you add to the list?
More great reads from BabyCenter:
How to Establish a Nap Schedule
Is Kim Kardashian Sacrificing Comfort For Style?
Why We Grieve With Fellow Moms When Tragedy Strikes
6 Yummy Dishes For Your Memorial Day Menu
There are certain things only mothers can understand. From the feeling of holding your child for the first time to screaming with joy at a peepee in the potty, some moments are only experienced through motherhood.
In our BabyCenter Community, members have long listed their ending to the sentence, "You know you're a mom when."
In honor of all the moms out there in the trenches of motherhood, those wiping heinys, changing diapers, folding clothes, wiping tears, holding babies, and sending little ones to time out, this is for you.
You know you're a mom when . . .
- . . . your perfume is Eau de Baby Food.
- . . . you know closing a door silently is an art form.
- . . . you realize you're talking about poop in public. Again.
- . . . you realize the kids have been in bed for an hour and you're still watching cartoons.
- . . . shopping alone feels like a vacation.
- . . . you reheat your coffee three times and still don't get to drink it.
- . . . you've experienced stroller envy.
- . . . you've found something you lost in the toilet.
- . . . silence makes you nervous.
- . . . nothing feels better than a long shower. Alone.
- . . . you fold laundry during your "free time."
- . . . you believe doorbell ringing at nap time is unforgivable.
- . . . you wish every store had a drive-through.
- . . . you have 100 Cheerios and 50 raisins at the bottom of your purse.
- . . . the gift doesn't matter, only the little person behind it.
What would you add to our list? You know you're a mom when . . .
More great reads from BabyCenter:
Which pregnancy symptoms would you pass on to Dad if you could?
7 fabulous toys for outdoor fun!
9 simple shortcuts for healthier eating
How to tame your family's tech habits
Late last year, the Dadlers went to Disneyland. We drove through the night to get there, and I felt horrible for my kids as they struggled to sleep in their booster seats.
More than once I was tempted to stop, fold down the back seat, and let them sleep flat as we continued to the park.
After all, that's the way it was done when I was a kid. And some of my fondest memories are of lying in the back of the station wagon napping, reading, or just resting there watching the world go by.
But of course, it's not safe, not legal, and our car could be the one that gets smashed.
The reality though is that my kids were unsafely slumped over and barely in their boosters. And the only way they would be perfectly positioned in their seats would be if I either gave them each a cup of coffee or I used duct tape to keep them in a permanent, upright position.
I don't know what to do. That's not one of mine in the photo above, but I'm desperate enough to actually like that completely unsafe seat belt technique (that kid is going to be an engineer). But seriously, does anybody have a solution for this mess? Does anyone just let their kids sleep flat?
I'm surprised there's no product for this problem. Seems like there's a million dollars to be made (I'd do it but I'm too busy writing my parenting book, Force Father).
More great reads from BabyCenter:
Is "daddy" a Southern term?
Kate Middleton's baby stroller choice is causing some controversy
A Pinterest board guaranteed to give moms a good laugh
Adorable organic rattles and gifts for baby
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about what moms really want for Mother's Day.
The question is innocent enough, right? "What do you want for Mother's Day?"
My husband asked me this over the weekend. Instead of shrugging and saying nothing, like I usually do, I took the time to think about what I'd like. And, oddly enough, none of the things I came up with were things you can buy at a store.
All of them require a little effort from my family. Maybe that's why they're so hard to come by?
I have a feeling I'm not alone here. Without further ado…
10 Things I Really Want for Mother's Day (That Don't Cost A Dime)
- My baby to sleep through the night. Please God, if you give me nothing else my whole life, I'll take this and be eternally happy.
- Everyone in my family to pick up their own clutter. This includes your socks, toys, water bottles, keys, mail, books and anything else you routinely leave strewn about.
- An unexpected treat that I didn't have to ask for.
- Everyone to put away their own laundry. In a timely fashion.
- The kids not complaining about the dinner I've cooked. And on that note...
- A really yummy homemade meal that I didn't have to cook...
- Followed by some homemade chocolate cake.
- A nap where no one bothers me, asks me to get them something to drink or cries because their Legos fell apart.
- Someone to make my mud room look like the ones on Pinterest.
- A real neck massage. Not a gift card for a massage (because I do not have time to use that.)
What would you like for Mother's Day?
I don't know about you, but teaching basic life skills to my children is pretty much last on my list of likes when it comes to parenting. Want to chat about your day? Great. Want to ask me a question about the sky, or the circle of life or religion? Let's do it. But you want to know how to use scissors? Or how to hold a pencil? I have no idea how to communicate this.
My preschooler is learning to write, and I recently had a parent-teacher conference discussing how we can help him. He is 4 and refuses to hold writing utensils properly. Part of it is his age; I know this will come with time. But I think part of it can also be traced back to my complete paralysis when it comes to teaching this skill. After a chat with his teachers and a few friends, I decided to make a list of helpful items to get kids on the right track. Or should I say write track? Groan. I know, I know.
Check out these 5 products to help your child learn to hold a pencil:
- The Crossover grip from The Pencil ($11 for six) helps keep fingers where they are supposed to be.
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about parenting advice from around the world.
"To find the most awesome teenagers you can and interrogate their mother as to how she parented them. Then do that!" — Karyn Van Der Zwet, New Zealand
"When my first child was born, the nurse midwife told me not to get into the habit of overextending yourself. The "master" (she means husband) in your life will come to expect that and take it for granted. Especially at first, do what you can do and "remove the hand" from rest. (That's a Japanese way of saying to let it go.) I should have listened to her; it would have made my first couple of years as a mother much easier." — Melanie Oda, Japan
"Remember that whatever it is you're going through, it will pass. This little piece of advice has helped me endure the tough times and savor the good times." — Dee Harlow, Laos
"Let them figure out the solution, don't always give it to them." We are too quick to help our kids figure out life's puzzles. We try and solve every argument they have and end up with them coming to us for every little thing. Sometimes, we just need to stand back and let them figure it out. — Mama B., Saudi Arabia
"Don't make sleep a goal. Just enjoy it when you can get it. Considering my newborn stayed awake for eight-hour stretches and didn't sleep through the night, constantly hoping and expecting sleep would have made me miserable. Instead, I just slept when I could. It made a huge difference to my sanity." — Carol, Canada
"My mum, when I was a frightened and very tired new mother said, 'No-one will ever know your child better than you do. Trust your instincts.' It's gotten me through every challenge with my daughters so far." — Sophie Walker, United Kingdom
"Someone once told me to do the best I know how, then leave the rest to God. Whenever I go through tough periods of change and tantrums, I try to step aside and re-focus on the bigger picture—my end goals, vision and hope for my family." — June, Singapore
"Back when I was a clean freak (which to my husband's chagrin has passed), my grandmother would tell me, 'If it's a choice between cleaning your house or playing with your kids, play with your kids because they are so much more important.'" — Susie Newday, Israel
Last week, the parents of a six-year old girl learned that Child Protective Services might take their little girl from them. Their crime? They allowed her to walk a couple of blocks to the post office alone.
She doesn’t live in a busy city. She had to cross one road, a “T” intersection with a stop sign and traffic light. It was a very common walk for her, but her parents rehearsed her doing it independently as well. She had a cell phone on her just in case. And now, she might be removed completely from her family.
I feel terribly sad when I hear these stories. For one, I’ve been interrogated by CPS after a doctor irresposibly jumped to conclusions because my daughter is brain damaged. But, I also feel for the members of the public. As in the case of this six-year old girl, the ones who felt they had no choice but to involve the police, rather than believe the parents. It must feel awful when you can not remove yourself from suspicions, even after a reasonable explanation is given.
I’m geniunely unnerved by this state of fearfulness. Fear of your child being snatched from your peaceful suburban town. Fear of CPS knocking down your door if you allow them to explore safely. Fear of your child being kidnapped from your locked car when you run inside to grab your forgotten purse off the counter.
The statistics about child abduction may surprise you. Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says, “More missing children come home today than at any time in our nation’s history. And the total number of missing children has been on the decline over the past 10 years.”
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about the work at home and stay at home debate.
With Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In garnering enormous attention in the media, it’s not surprise that we’re somehow back to the whole working mom vs. stay-at-home-mom argument. But this time it’s not the moms going at it, apparently it’s the dads who have an opinion on the matter.
Yes, according to a study [of the very obvious] conducted by the Pew Research Center, dads want their wives to be stay-at-home-moms. Apparently 37 percent of the dads surveyed think moms should stay home. And 41 percent think that part-time work is a good compromise.
Granted, this was a study of about 2500 people, so I’m hardpressed to say this is a significant number or holds any sort of validity, but really, are we that surprised? I mean how nice would it be to go to work and have someone at home love and care for your kids, as well as keep up with the house and all the associated duties?
Sign me up!
What’s interesting is that more women (37 percent compared to 21 percent when this study was last conducted) want to work full-time and about 50 percent want to work part-time. So as satisfied as the men are with having the home, the women are unsatisfied.
The question I ask myself, and have asked for many years, is whether that’s really the best for everyone? Whether men want the woman to stay home seems fairly inconsequential to me. I would like to know what’s best for the relationship, for each individual, and for the kids.
My best guess is that it’s where each party feels satisfied and happy with their choice, whatever it may be. And that they feel supported and confident that they made the right one. Until someone figures all that out for every parent out there I’m going to continue doing what I do when I see these studies: roll my eyes.
What do you think about these study results?
More great reads from BabyCenter:
Do you have a second mom in your house?
7 yummy ways to use leftover ham
Creative pre-school crafts from Pinterest
11 kids rugs that are great for play
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Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about how to handle being mistakenly asked if you're pregnant.
We were at the zoo with my toddler and baby. It was a nice day and I was feeling pretty good about life. Everyone was sleeping through the night. Naps were consistent. Nursing was going good. I was just beginning to feel like I had a handle on this whole “mom of two” thing. Being completely honest, in the car on the way I actually had a thought that went a little like, “maybe I could go for three.”
So there we were. Our happy little family of four was approaching the wolf exhibit. Another dad was there with his toddler son. Both were outwardly happy, seeming to enjoy the day as much as we were. Then that’s when it all went to crap.
He looked directly at me and asked the mother of all questions. “So when are you due?” I looked behind me. Surely he was talking to someone else. “Me?” I asked. He smiled bigger and nodded, not quick enough to realize his error. The very least he could have done was to make something up like, “Oh…uh, I mean I said, “Is she two?” But no, he held his course and kept right on smiling at me, looking down at my belly.
I tried to be nice, I really did, but I went from shocked, to humiliated, to mad, and landing at sad in a flash. I mustered up a chuckle and managed to say, “You shouldn’t assume someone is pregnant unless you actually see the head emerging from her body, but thanks.” I think my husband was mortified.
In hindsight I probably should have just said, “June” and moved on. After all, this guy was trying to be nice and engage the fat lady in a way that would normally make someone who was actually pregnant smile. He meant no harm and I truly believe that. So if I could take my zinger back, I would. But still…the man clearly needed to learn a lesson. And I clearly needed to do some core training.
Didn’t he see the little baby in the stroller? Being so pregnant that I was showing made no sense. Yet still, I couldn’t unhear his question, so I had to process it. I lingered at angry for a few minutes then quickly realized this 90 second interaction was ruining my day. At the time, I had already lost all of my pregnancy weight plus some. My body had changed, that’s for sure, but until that moment, I was feeling okay about it.
I decided to do two things.
- Get over it.
- Never wear that outfit again.
Have you ever been mistaken for pregnant? How did you react?
More great reads from BabyCenter:
God Help the Messy Mothers
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Of course, we are older now and best friends. It's hard to think about life without her. What if she had never shimmied her way out of that bed crack? It doesn't bear thinking about. (Though, I'd imagine none of my Halloween candy would've ever disappeared again.)
Siblings are wonderful, except when they're not. We laugh, entertain and protect one another — from issues as bizarre as who is forced to eat the last piece of Banana Tofu Pie (yes, things like that happened in my house) to who is forced to sit with the other at lunch because no one else at school will. I protected my sister with only my wits and a hairbrush once. (Long story.) We phoned each other deep into the night to complain about boys and our parents. Come to think of it — who do children complain to about their parents if they have no sibling?
But, she also stole my candy, my parents' attention and my sanity. She claims I even stole one of her friends, but I would maintain that I had no idea that she was already friends with him before I became friends with him.
Sometimes, I wonder what my son's life will be like without a sibling. He has a sister, but May is severely disabled and, despite adoring her, she will never be the kind of companion in life that mine was to me. She takes up so much of our time already, I worry about him losing even more to a needy infant. He isn't even two years old, and already he entertains himself. Which is both wonderful, and a bit sad.
In his case, I'm not sure the benefits would outweigh the negatives. But, perhaps, like I do — he will appreciate the presence of a sibling more when he is older. When we have to stay at home with May and he would like his family to join him at a big event. When he just wants to laugh with someone, or head to the pub to complain bitterly to someone who will understand why his parents are so strange. Or later, when choices about May need to be made and he is making them on his own.
There's still time. I'm only 40.
Do you think the benefits of a sibling outweigh the negatives?
More great reads from BabyCenter:
Having It All by Choosing to Stay at Home
Some Days My Kid Won't Like Me
Liz Lange's Tips For Date Night Glam While Expecting
Will You Share Your Family's Story With Your Kids?
Texas Female Lawmaker Scolds Breastfeeding Moms
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about what labor really feels like.
One of the most agonizing aspects of being pregnant is wondering what labor will feel like. When I was pregnant with my first child, I'd often lay awake at night, wondering how it was all going down. Would I be able to handle it?
It's one of those life-changing events that you have to experience to understand. I've had six births and no two labors were alike. Our BabyCenter Community is talking about this very same topic, Is it as bad as everyone says? Here are a few opinions from our members:
kirstenk86 said: "It was horrible and I wanted to die." Tell us how you really feel, kirstenk86.
BabyMine1104 said: "It's the hardest work you'll ever do, perhaps the most painful, but 100% worth it!"
abrigham said: "If birth was so traumatizing and near-death horrible we'd all only have one kid and we'd die out as a species…have confidence in yourself and your ability."
LittleLucy2 said: "Labor is hard work. But you can do it."
As a woman about to give birth, encouragement and pats on the back were great, but I wanted to know the truth. Give me the 411. Give me the real deal—the cold hard truth. I wanted to know what this whole thing actually felt like.
Early labor feels a lot like menstrual cramps.
To me, early labor felt like it was that time of the month. Achy legs, achy back and menstrual cramps. Not enough to cry out in pain, but just enough to make me uncomfortable and crabby. I recall being really grouchy in early labor—it was as if I was royally pissed off that a child was making its way down my birth canal.
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about the side effects of pregnancy.
I noticed the change during my first pregnancy when my comfy ballet flats suddenly became a lot less comfy. I expected to outgrow my skinny jeans, but the shoes came as a bit of a surprise. I wasn't too worried at the time, though, figuring maybe my feet were just swollen.
I had my daughter and eventually lost (well, almost) all the baby weight, but my feet sadly have remained almost a half a shoe size bigger than they were prepregnancy. They weren't small to begin with — at almost six feet tall, there's not much about me that's petite — so that half-size has practically bumped me into Sasquatch territory.
"I had heard women reporting changes in their shoe size with pregnancy but found nothing about that in medical journals or textbooks," says Dr. Neil Segal, the University of Iowa researcher who led the study. "In order to study this more scientifically, we measured women's feet at the beginning of their pregnancy and five months after delivery. We found that pregnancy does indeed lead to permanent changes in the feet."
It's thought that the phenomenon, which seems to occur mainly during a woman's first pregnancy, could be due to the increased looseness of the joints during pregnancy, as well as the fact that all that extra weight can cause the foot to flatten and lengthen.
Did your feet get bigger during pregnancy? Did they stay that way? As most moms know firsthand, bigger feet aren't the only surprising side effect that pregnancy can bring . . . Thankfully not all of these are permanent! Did you experience any of these other odd pregnancy side effects?
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Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about wishing for a baby of a certain gender.
When I was first pregnant 10 years ago and people asked whether I wanted a boy or a girl, I always responded that I wanted a healthy baby. I gave the same response when I got pregnant a year-and-a-half later.
I was telling the truth. Back then I thought it was greedy and socially unacceptable to express that you hoped for a specific gender. I thought it was cruel and mean to the fetus inside my belly to have an opinion.
Plus, I was haunted by a family story about my grandmother wanting a girl so badly that she gave my dad a girl’s name, Terry. Not Terrance, but Terry, which apparently back then wasn't used for both genders.
But now I'm older and less wise, and I'm letting go of the self-righteous attitudes that I latched onto in my youth, and I will tell you that more than anything I want a girl. A ruffle-loving, pink-wearing, pretty little princess who I can call Kate or Elizabeth or Sarah-Rose or something wonderfully lovely and girlie.
We've all heard the warnings about TV time for kids: Introduced too early it can have a negative impact on your children's development, allowed too often and their behavior, attention spans and even waistlines may suffer.
A new study, however, takes a different approach to the hot topic of kids and television.
"We often focus on how much kids watch and don't focus enough on what they watch," says Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute and the study's author. "While too many children watch too much TV, this study shows that content is as important as quantity."
Dr. Christakis' team studied 565 families with children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. Half of these families received a "media diet intervention," receiving advice on how to substitute violent programs like Power Rangers for "prosocial and educational" ones such as Dora the Explorer, Imagination Movers, and Sesame Street. The other half, those in the control group, didn't receive this guidance.
(Confession: My gut reaction to this premise was, 'Why is a 3-year-old watching anything but prosocial and educational shows?' Then I guiltily remembered how my own standards have slipped since having my second child. At 2 years old, she already knows the theme song to her older sister's favorite show, Spongebob Squarepants. If you've ever seen Spongebob, 'educational' probably isn't the first word that pops to mind.)
The families who took part in this study remained in regular contact with the researchers for a year after the media intervention diet was introduced and "the children in the intervention group demonstrated significantly less aggression and more prosocial behavior compared to the control group, and the effect lasted throughout the 12 months."
"It's not just about turning off the television. It's about changing the channel," concludes Dr. Christakis. He urges all parents to stage a similar media diet intervention by keeping a diary to track what kids are viewing, choosing less violent programming and watching alongside their children so that they're aware of show content.
I usually brace myself for bad news when I read studies on TV time, but this one actually helps ease my guilty conscience. Like most kids, mine watch their fair share of TV. While I'm not always militant about cutting their screen time, I do try to keep a close eye on what they're watching, making sure it's not scary or violent or — particularly for my 6-year-old, who's starting to show some interest in Hannah Montana and the like — just too mature. And every time my girls tackle a problem with an Imagination Movers-inspired "idea emergency" fix, I like to tell myself that TV may not be all bad.
Do you see anything positive about your kids' favorite TV shows?
More great reads from BabyCenter:
Kim Kardashian Braves a Pregnant Bikini Photo Shoot
Would You Leave Your Child Home Alone?
10 Secrets to Raising Awesome Kids
A Love-Hate Relationship With Pregnancy
Is This What We Want Motherhood to Look Like?
The New York Times Style section never fails to expose, or even invent, the latest trend. A feature about people “hooking up” for the sole purpose of becoming parents, romantics need not apply, is no exception.
From what I gather, this parenting arrangement is reminiscent of a business deal: two mature people with a common goal find each other, usually online via a slew of newish social network websites, and come together as partners whose chief objective is creating and raising a baby, or two.
Just as with conventional dating sites, these parenting-partnership sites help like-minded people — often men and women in their late 30s or early 40s — connect. In lieu of courtship, couples vet each other thoroughly and then, if it feels right, head straight to the family finish line.
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about dads being present at childbirth.
After reading that Wiz Khalifa will be very hands-on during home birth, I was struck by two things.
One, I think it's awesome that home birth is becoming a normalized, viable option for expectant couples of both the celebrity and regular old Joe Shmoe kind. And two, it just makes sense that all dads should be present and "hands-on" during their child's birth.
Truth be told, I don't think I could've done it — the pregnancy, the early labor, the active labor, the pushing part — without my husband being nearby. We were in this together, as a couple. Sure, I was the one whose feet swelled up like baseball gloves, I was the one who planned on oiling up her taint every night because I was so afraid of having an episiotomy, and, ultimately, I was the one who had to pass a child's head through my nethers, six times.
Me, just me.
All self-deprecating humor aside, it’s true: I needed my husband's presence during the births of our children. It felt good to know my partner was there, helping me, reassuring me, comforting me, coaching me through the hard work of labor. It was very much a team effort. I know women who say that they wanted to club their husbands over the head during childbirth, but that wasn't my experience. My husband was pretty much amazing at keeping me focused, calm, and hopeful. Yes, I know he was probably as scared as I was at times, but I always felt safe when he was beside me.
I wasn't the type who liked having an entourage present during labor. Sisters, friends, mothers, sister-in-law — having them present during your birth is great, and I've certainly had those moments where I wanted them there. Still, I consider childbirth a very intimate moment. Together, we created a baby and together we'll welcome him into the world.
That said, I can't imagine not having my husband be involved in the birth of our children. A father should want to. They need to bond with their child just as much as we do. There shouldn't be any questions or statements — it's a given.
Was the father of your child present and "hands-on" during the birth?
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Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about what we give up for our kids.
On Facebook, I reconnected with a former co-worker from my newspaper days and found out he'd become a dad to a little girl.
He stuck with the newspaper game (I got out, by the skin of my teeth) and occasionally writes about his parenting journey for his current paper, the Erie Times-News. Today, he posted a column about missing out on movies and how as a kid and even an adult he made sure to see at least all the Oscar-nominated movies for that season, if not all of the movies released in a year.
Oh, how it made me laugh.
I'm about five years ahead of my friend in this parenting gig and this year I considered myself lucky to have seen the three flicks my husband and I managed to sneak in on a few hard-earned date nights. Back in the day, pre-kids and pre-spouse, I'd spend my weekends in a darkened theater, watching back-to-back feature films. Sitting there in the dark, losing myself in the fictions and true stories playing out on the big screen, offered me the same kind of nourishment for the soul that a great book provided.
My friend Gerry is grateful for the hole in his life where movies used to be, he says, and he knows that someday the hours spent engrossed in a big screen will come again.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that movie-going was one of the great pleasures of my pre-parent life. It was part of the bond forged between me and my husband, early on in our relationship, when we discovered with delight that our paths had crossed many, many times in a movie theater, even in Boston and Cambridge when we were college students who had not yet met, studying at two universities on two sides of the Charles River.
Now, I don't even really miss it.
Gerry's column made me think about all the things I've given up for my children—reading until 1 a.m., late mornings laying in bed doing The New York Times crossword puzzle, dry-clean-only clothing, my career, hot meals, regular bathing…the list is endless.
I bet your list is, too.
Sometimes I look back at the life I led before motherhood and it baffles me. Who was that sharp-dressed lady with the library account in good standing?
Then I look at my kids, their faces smeared with chocolate from the brownies we baked together, and that memory disappears, only to be replaced with one that is so much more meaningful, so much more beautiful.
My life is a movie now, one filled with terrorizing beauty and a plot I have yet to fully grasp.
For that, I would gladly give up just about anything. Anything, that is, except for my kids.
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