Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fun And Memorable Baby Shower Games And Activities

So, you're planning a baby shower. You've decided on a theme
and sent out your invitations. You have selected the
decorations, ordered the cake, and planned your menu. Now it's
time to decide what to do with your guests besides open gifts
and eat! There are a number of fun and interesting baby shower
games you can choose from, as well as some creative activities
to make the baby shower unforgettable. Remember that Small Fry
infant mobiles make adorable shower decorations and can be a
wonderful gift for the new baby.

Diaper Changing 101
With two large baby dolls, let guests race to see who can
change the baby's diaper the fastest. Supply each area with
wipes, powder, and a clean diaper, as well as a blanket to wrap
baby in when she's done.

Variation: Change the diapers in teams of two. One person
stands in front of the baby with their hands behind their back
while the other teammate reaches around them and changes the
baby. This can be really funny!

What's the Flavor?
Remove the label from several jars of various types of baby
food and number each jar. On an out of sight paper, list the
flavor of each jar beside the appropriate number. Give each
guest a numbered piece of paper and a spoon, then pass around
the jars of food. Guests should try to guess the correct flavor
of each jar by the color, scent, or taste of the food and record
their answer. Consider a door prize for the guest who gets the
most correct.

I'm Having a Baby!
Before the baby shower, freeze tiny babies or baby items inside
ice cubes. Give each guest a cube inside their punch or in a
small cup of water. The guest whose cube melts first and frees
the tiny object should shout, "My water broke!" and claim their
door prize.

Variation: Instruct the guests to melt the ice cube in their
mouth rather than a glass. Just take care not to include any
young guests who may swallow the object!

Make a Memory
Crafty baby shower goers will enjoy creating a group craft for
the baby as the main focus of the shower. You can make a quilt
for the baby with each guest personalizing their own square or
design a unique wall hanging for the nursery together. You may
also consider hosting the baby shower at an art studio that
offers group lessons, like a pottery shop, or even arrange a
crafting workshop for the shower at a local craft store.

Shhh! Baby's Sleeping!
Give each guest a diaper pin or clothespin when they arrive and
ask them to pin it to their shirt. As everyone walks around and
mingles, they have to take care not to say the word baby. Anyone
who hears someone say the word takes a pin from that guest.
Before guests start to leave, announce the winner who has the
most pins and award a prize.

About The Author: For more tips and information about Baby
Einstein Animal Match,check out http:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Educational Baby Toys - What to Look For...

If you are a new parent, you probably have noticed that there are tons of commercials and advertisements out there saying "Buy this toy...buy that toy...This toy will make your baby smart...This toy is the best...you gotta have it!" But, how do you know which toys are necessary? Which are baby toys are educational and fun at the same time? There is enough for you to think about right now, without being sold into buying toys that don't serve a purpose.

Here are some things to consider before purchasing toys. You probably want to buy engaging, age-appropriate, educational baby toys, meaning toys that are actually going to teach your child something. You want your child to develop as he plays. The first three years of your baby's life are so important when it comes to learning. He is like a sponge, learning from everything and everyone around him. You also want the toy to be fun! Your child is not going to play with a so called "educational toy" if it is boring. You need to make sure that the baby toys you choose are engaging so that he does in fact learn.

You also want these educational baby toys to have more than one purpose. Meaning, you want your child to be able to learn a few things when playing with one toy. You don't want your child to use the toy for a month or two and then have no use for it. You do not want your baby to become bored too quickly. There is no need to clutter your house with tons of toys (not to mention spend all of that money). Toys that grow with your child are the best. For example, a 6-12 month old will play with a stuffed animal and may enjoy mouthing the animal and learn cause and effect by squeezing the arm to hear music. At around 12 months, this stuffed animal may be a learning tool for him to start learning body parts. Then, around 18 months he may learn colors by playing with this same toy because it in fact has colors on the various body parts and names them.

You may also want to buy educational baby toys that get your child moving. For example, toys that require him to use gross motor skills (bigger muscles - like legs and arms) and fine motor skills (smaller muscles - like his fingers) are great for early child development. Just a few examples of these types of toys are activity centers, play mats, bouncy balls, rattles, puzzles, and shape sorters.

Another area to consider when purchasing an educational baby toy is language development. Your child develops language skills from the environment that he is in. He will learn the most from you! The right educational baby toys are also very important for his language development. Watching your child develop language skills as he plays will be fun for you as well as your little one. Books, Baby Einstein music and DVDs, and baby safe mirrors are just a few examples. Toys with various textures that your baby will mouth are also great for language development. They stimulate your baby's mouth and that is extremely important in developing language. So when he is mouthing toys all day, be glad! He is learning!

The next time you're looking to buy a toy for your child, take some time to think about how he will use the toy. Is it a toy that will get him moving? Does the toy stimulate his language development? Is this toy engaging and it is multi-functional? These are just a few areas to consider when researching toys that will help your child learn and develop.

Looking for educational baby toys? BabySmileAndGrow.com was developed by a stay-at-home mom with a special education and early intervention background. She has found many baby toys to be great for early child development and many that are not! Check out http://www.BabySmileAndGrow.com

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tips on Purchasing Baby Things

The expenses of having a baby does not only include the cute little blankets, shirts, nappies, socks, mittens, hats and those delightful miniature outfits that we are so fond of but it also takes in those feeding bottles, formula, and a number of baby furniture which may look small but could take a big chunk out of your finances. Here are a few tips on purchasing the essential furniture that your newborn baby should not be without.

Upon learning that they are going to have a baby, most excited parents think of purchasing a good old steady crib at first thought. In buying a cot, however, there are a lot of considerations to be made and not just on whether you should go for the color blue or pink. One main thing to take into account is the safety of the cot which you are purchasing. For one, parents should look into whether their chosen cot has been duly certified as meeting the safety requirements of the Australian/New Zealand Standards by an independent recognized authority such as the SGS, QAS, or Lloyds. When it comes to your baby, quality should never be compromised so you should also check on the quality and durability of the materials used for the baby cot.

Since you will only be able to physically check the furniture once it arrives when you purchase it online, make sure that you can still contact the manufacturer and return the product if there are any defects. Things to look into are exposed nails, screws or dowels for timber cots and bent or rusty parts for metal cribs.

Next to cots are the baby carriers and strollers. You and your baby will be on house arrest and stay at home forever. You may want to go take a walk in the park or go for a trip to the mall. It would help for you to have sturdy baby carriers to keep your sweet toddler ensconced safely in front of you or on your back. Make sure to look for shoulder straps that are well-padded and that go crisscross so that it distributes the weight of the baby evenly. A waist or hip strap can also take the off weight from your shoulders so look for this feature as well.

As for strollers, there are basically four types: the pramettes, the layback strollers, the umbrella strollers and the jogger strollers. One very important thing to check is the wheels. Many accidents are caused by defective stroller wheels. Also check on the brakes. You would not want to go chasing after a run-away stroller that has lost control of its brakes.

As soon as it appears that your child has had enough of his crawling sessions and is now ready to take the world on both feet, you may think of purchasing a baby walker. There is considerable debate however on whether a baby walker really does aid your child or it could prove to be a setback to your child's walking capabilities. In Australia, all walkers must meet the safety standard. It has even been noted that the Australian Consumers Association has expressed their opposition to the use of this product which they deem is useless and unsafe. As an alternative, the following are suggested: bouncers, playmats, rockers and playpens.

James Brown writes about http://www.couponthunder.com

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good Deals On Supplies For Babies

New parents and those who are soon to become parents are often
shocked by all the things that are needed for babies. There is
so much stuff out there that they recommend babies have that it
seems one could go broke in the process.

It is true that you will be a lot of stuff to care for your new
baby but it doesn't have to cost as much money as you think. You
can find all of the stuff that you need at prices significantly
below typical retail.

Consignment Baby Shops

A great place to go shopping for stuff for babies is local
consignment stores. There are a variety of popular chains as
well as other locally owned shops. These stores carry used
products at prices sometimes well below retail. You can find
baby clothes, cribs, strollers, diaper bags, bouncy seats, and
much more at consignment shops for babies. Be careful though as
sometimes these items will be priced as high as they would be
brand new. Comparison shop and keep an eye out for good deals.

Discount Internet Stores

You can often find good deals on baby stuff through Internet
stores which can sell for much lower prices than traditional
brick and mortar stores because they have less overhead. Many
people are afraid to buy products online because of security
issues. This is really not concern anymore if a few precautions
are taken. Review the site where you like to do business
carefully. Take a look at their customer service and return
policies. Make sure that you're comfortable with doing business
there. Always use a major credit card for all Internet
purchases. By using a credit card you are protected if your card
should become compromised anyway. Most credit card companies
will not hold you liable for any charges that result from fraud.

Online Auctions

Did you know that you can also buy products for babies at a
variety of online auctions? Online auctions are quickly becoming
one of the most popular avenues for shopping online. You can buy
everything from diaper bags to bouncy seats at online auctions.

This is another area where you want to protect yourself by
taking a few precautions. Make sure that the seller you buy from
has good ratings from prior customers and an established track

It doesn't have to cost a lot to find great deals on products
for babies.

About The Author: Robert Michael is a writer for Hb Babies
which is an excellent place to find babies links, resources and
articles. For more information go to: http://www.hbbabies.com

Monday, January 07, 2008

Buying Baby Furniture On A Frugal Budget

Young Parents are naturally excited about their first born, and
they are usually eager to fix up the Baby's Room or Baby
Nursery, and tend to over spend on Baby Furniture. When you are
young and inexperienced you tend not to think of how expensive
Baby Furniture can be. As a Mom of six kids I know how exciting
a newborn baby can be, however you need to be Frugal as Young
Parents if you are on a budget.

As Young Parents, you should make a list of the Baby Furniture
that you MUST have and a separate list of Baby Items you would
simply like to have. It is the MUST Have items you need to
consider first when it comes to buying Baby Furniture! First and
foremost, you will need a Baby Crib, Baby Dresser, and perhaps a
Diaper Changing Table.

As far as a Diaper Changing Table goes perhaps you can find a
nice used Baby Changing Table that has been well taken care of.
Maybe you will decide to do like most experienced Parents, and
change your baby's diapers on your bed instead of using a Diaper
Changing Table.

I hope I have gotten your attention and maybe you are starting
to think more about prioritizing your Shopping List for the Baby
Furniture you will actually need and use. Please, do not let the
Sales People talk you into financing expensive Baby Furniture
that could possibly cause financial difficulties down the road.
Be Frugal and save money where you can on your Baby Furniture

>From my experience as a Mom I will make a few suggestions of
what I think you really need as far as Baby Furniture goes.

I will agree on a Baby Crib; however I suggest you buy a used
Baby Crib because you will only use it for a few short months.
It would be better if you spend less on a Baby Crib and use the
money you saved to buy a well made Baby Bed later on, which will
be used for a much longer period of time. Baby Beds can be very
expensive however you can afford a higher quality bed if you
shop around, or choose to buy a lightly used Baby Bed that suits
your Baby Nursery Decor.

You will want to spend money on a Baby Dresser to hold all of
the neat Baby Clothes and other Baby Items. If you bought the
Baby Bed used maybe you will have saved enough money to buy a
Baby Dresser that closely matches your Baby Bed. If you start
shopping early you may find a used matching Baby Bed and Dresser
Set. Shop wisely and save money while decorating your Baby

I am going to suggest that you invest in a sturdy Rocking
Chair, because all Babies love to be rocked and a Rocking Chair
is almost mandatory. If at all possible either buy a rocker on
sale or possibly a used rocker with little wear will do just
fine. I personally like to buy used Name Brand Baby Furniture
that just needs a little clean-up or possible a coat of paint to
make it look new again. I guess that is why I am called The
Frugal Mom!

A great way to save on Baby Furniture to go into your Baby
Nursery, or Baby Room, is to shop the local discount stores,
second hand furniture stores, newspaper classifieds, or you can
possibly buy used Baby Furniture from Friends and Relatives.

You will want to check used Baby Furniture for scratches,
dents, sharp edges, lead paint if it is older furniture
(antique) that has been refinished, and also check for missing
pieces and parts. You may also want to check on the internet to
see if there has been a manufacturer's recall on certain Baby
Furniture Items you may be looking to buy used.

When it comes to buying Baby Furniture you need to use common
sense and shop around. Remember to think thrifty; however you
will also need to keep your Babies Safety in mind.

I would like to share with all Young Parents one of my all time
favorite places on earth to shop for all of my Baby Items
whether it be a Big Ticket Item such as Baby Furniture, or
consumables such as Baby Diapers, or Baby Wipes.

What is my Big money saving secret?

I will tell you in just two words - Ebay Auctions!

I have been saving tons of money for a long time now by
shopping Online through Ebay Auctions.

You can buy just about anything you can think of when it comes
to your Baby Furniture and it is much less than buying it in the
Mall or at a Furniture Stores. You can also save on Baby
Strollers, Baby Beds, High Chairs, Baby Bedding, and many other
Baby Items.

Most Ebay Sellers are very honest when representing their Used
Baby Items as well as New Baby Items. Just remember to read all
auctions thoroughly so there will be NO misunderstandings later.

Keep in mind that Babies can get quite expensive, and there
will be many Baby Items other than Baby Furniture that you MUST
Budget for. So be a Smart Shopper and you will save lots of
money on all your Baby's needs on Ebay.

About The Author: This Article was written by Sally Jean Myers,
Mother of Six Children, Work at Home Mom, and the Owner of Baby
Store Bargains Online. If you would like more information on
Shopping for Baby Furniture as well as other Informative Baby
related Articles please visit the Author's Website

Cars that drive themselves: family trips will never be the same

I've never been a fabulous driver. Although I've only ever totaled one car (when I was 18 and scatterbrained and oh, man, I hope my Dad doesn't still remember that), I've almost had several accidents, largely in the last two years. I blame this entirely on the small human that sits in the middle section of the back seat of my Jeep.

When he was an infant, I had my rear view mirror positioned toward his face so I could check to see if he was breathing and to periodically make sure his head wasn't lolling around in his lap region. As he's grown bigger, there's a whole new daunting set of challenges: cars that get lost under the seat, random howling dismay, hands that want a sippy, continued, distracting, nattering conversation and worst, his perpetual struggle to disengage himself from the seatbelt. I would be a much better driver if I could just sit in the passenger seat. That sounds ridiculous, I know, but it's not exactly science fiction.

General Motors is currently researching "driverless" cars: smart vehicles that will take you to your intended destination and park expertly in a parking spot, perhaps even pull the park brake. Ostensibly, you can sit in the passenger seat while all this goes down, searching for soggy crackers under the seat and missing dinky cars that have become lodged in between the seats.

The technology is a few years off -- car makers estimate 2018 as a launch date for driverless vehicles. In the meantime, there's still work to be done. Teams working on the driverless cars admit that one test vehicle nearly charged into a building, while another car pulled into a house's carport and parked itself without being told. I cannot even imagine what I would think if an empty car pulled up and parked itself sweetly in my driveway. Nonetheless, I'm keeping my eye on this one. It seems that the future is nearly here, and it might be crash proof.
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A second first baby

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People seem to be fascinated by superlatives. Ripley and Guinness have built empires around the biggest, the smallest, the fastest, and the tallest. But for each of these, the title can be taken away. There is always the possibility of someone an inch taller or living a year longer or eating one more hot dog. The one superlative, however, that can never be beaten is the first. The first of anything will forever remain the first.

The first baby born each year is always a popular milestone. It must be interesting to be able to say you were the first child born at such-and-such hospital in year X. Kaden Skye Armstrong had that honor, being the first born at Gettysburg Hospital in Pennsylvania, January 1, 2007. No doubt, he she thought that would be his her claim to fame for quite a while. So, leave it to his her kid sister to steal his her thunder.

Faith Lynn Armstrong was born at the same hospital, one year later, and, like her big bro sis, was the first baby of the year. That makes her the second first baby of the year in a row for proud, but befuddled parents Kyle and Becky Armstrong. "It's strange," said the kids' mom. "It's all very weird." At least Kaden Skye will always be the first first baby of the year in their family. That's something, right?
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My version of the best bite diet

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Here are some things I am not going to miss about being pregnant:

o. The sensation of having the only upper quarter inch of my lungs available for the task of processing oxygen

o. Having to hold my arms out for counter-balance when I lower myself to the toilet, lest I collapse abruptly onto the seat thanks to the growing inadequacy of my quad muscles

o. Misjudging the amount of space my belly requires while parking and being unable to get out of my car with one single shred of dignity intact

o. The esophageal corrosion caused by acidic stomach burblings

o. Having every vein in my body displayed in lurid bulging blue relief

o. Experiencing a miniature foot pressing painfully outward from my thin-skinned belly button area until I am absolutely, 100% convinced it is going to burst through in a horrorshow geyser of blood just like that scene in Alien

One thing I will miss, however:

o. Eating pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want

I know I'll have a lot of bad eating habits to break once the baby is here and it's time to start thinking about getting back into shape again, but what can I say, if having a bowl of ice cream every night at 10 PM during my entire third trimester is wrong, I don't want to be right. I can't even tell you how relived I was to pass the glucose test with flying colors, because oh, the SUGAR cravings with this pregnancy. In fact, I liked that glucose drink-how gross is that?

I normally spend a lot of energy thinking of foods as being "bad" or "good" (like most of us do), and it's nice to just put that all aside for a while and eat whatever the hell my body wants. Even if it's fourteen Peppermint Patties followed by a handful of pretzels. With some green olives afterwards. And, um, a donut.

Oh, don't nag, it's not like I don't take a vitamin each day. (With a cookie chaser.)
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When your toddler's habits are better than your own

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I'll confess I haven't exactly been diligent about getting Riley to brush his teeth twice a day. Or even, um, every day. I know, I know: alert the Bad Parent Awards Committee because ladies and gentlemen we've got a last-minute contender for the WIN up in here! -- all I can say is that once I read how Britney Spears was going to get her kid's teeth whitened, I figured to hell with oral hygiene because I'ma do the same dang thing, y'all.

Okay, not really, but brushing Riley's teeth used to be a major battle and I am all about picking battles. So you could say there's been a lack of discipline in the teeth arena in the past, but boy has this ever changed. I can't even take the credit, much as I might like to do so; it's all Riley. He's suddenly decided that brushing his teeth is the best thing ever, and he wants about fifty servings of his children's (flouride-free) tooth gel at each brushing session -- despite the fact that the stuff tastes just like black licorice, GAG ME.

He's also become very into hand-washing. I think this habit was installed at daycare, actually, since they have a little sink they all use throughout the day. At home he announces "My washa hands, Mommy!", drags his stool up to the bathroom sink, and waits for me to turn the water on. Once I do so he's happy as a clam-practically humming a little tune as he turns his hands this way and that under the faucet until they turn pruney from oversaturation.

It's kind of embarrassing that my toddler has taken point on two areas I've been kind of a slacker about, that I know are important-brushing teeth and hand-washing-but I'm sure glad it's worked out in our favor. Now, if he'd go ahead and offer himself more prepared vegetables at every meal, and maybe read himself some Spanish/English flash cards in the evening, we'd really be in business.
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What you know and can't know about birth

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Riley's birth was kind of a whirlwind of unexpected events: a normal prenatal appointment at 37 weeks revealing worrisome blood pressure readings, a trip to the hospital, many hours of failed labor inducement, many more hours of magnesium sulfate, an eventual C-section resulting-thank god-in a perfect baby boy.

I'm scheduled for another C-section with this baby, mostly because I didn't want to deal with all the bother of labor and I heard vaginal deliveries can make your girl parts floppy, so I requested the surgery.

(. . .)

Oh god of course that's not true, I just wanted to send any particularly frothy-mouthed readers straight to the comments so the rest of us could have a normal conversation. The C-section is a result of some medical issues specific to my situation, yes I've heard of VBACs and in my case the surgery is the safer option, now you have the whole story.

Anyway, assuming there are no Unusual Events that happen beforehand that change the outcome of this birth, our second baby will be born under predictable conditions: don't eat the night before, go in and have midsection hacked wide open with a bandsaw (or, you know, however it works), baby is produced, all will rejoice-then, the inevitable Have You Had a BM questions, the pain of lurching around like Quasimodo while the abdomen is held together with staples, the eventual furious itch of a healing C-section scar.

But of course all births are unpredictable, and as the wise saying goes, Shizz Happens. I've started expanding my anxiety sphere from Oh My Gosh How Will I Care For Two Small Children to Oh My Gosh What If Something Awful Happens During the Birth. I power-worry about everything from what if I barf during the surgery to the unthinkable, the things you can't type or say out loud.

I guess it's par for the course, no matter how much you prepare, the miracle of birth is always just that: a miracle. There's nothing everyday about it. Every time, it's an amazing production, and I suppose it's only right that it deserves some held-breath anticipation.
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Suri Cruise 'conceived like Rosmary's Baby'

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I will admit that I don't really understand Scientology. I guess I've never cared enough to read up on it. But I do love to read biographies and Andrew Morton's new one on Tom Cruise has peaked my interest. Apparently, the new book, Tom Cruise: An Unauthorised Biography, has also raised the ire of Mr. Cruise himself. Unauthorized biographies have a way of doing that, I guess.

In the book, Morton makes a number of claims that have Scientology lawyers talking lawsuit and Cruise issuing vehement denials. One of the most bizarre claims involves little Suri Cruise's conception. According to Morton, Suri was "conceived like Rosemary's Baby". By that, he means that Suri was the result of a sperm donation. No big deal there. However, he says that sperm came from the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Okay, that is a little weird.

Morton surmises that Katie Holmes may feel she was in "the horror movie Rosemary's Baby, in which an unsuspecting young woman is impregnated with the Devil's child".

Cruise's lawyer, Bert Fields, says that claim is "sick and bizarre" and that the entire book is "poorly researched and badly written, and it's not really even about Tom Cruise - it's an attack on Scientology."

I've heard these rumors about Suri's conception before and find them hard to believe. Mostly because Katie got pregnant so early in the relationship with Tom that I just cannot imagine she would willingly go along with such a scheme. If there is brainwashing and mind control involved in Scientology - as some claim - surely it takes a little while to get a girl under that spell.

The book goes on sale in the U.S. January 15, but due to fear of defamation lawsuits, it isn't being released in the UK or Australia at all.
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Are you guilty of namestealing???

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When a friend of mine was pregnant with her first child she refused to divulge the name of her son, which she'd already picked out, agreed upon with, and stored away for the big day. Although part of her concern was that people wouldn't like the name, she was more worried that someone would REALLY like the name and steal it for their own unborn baby.

Anyone due before her was definitely not going to find out the name. Her fear wasn't completely out of line--she knew someone who'd fallen in love with a name only to have another friend who everyone claimed already knew the name had been "chosen" by this other woman take it.

I don't know if that story is true, but it does bring up an interesting question. Does a name every really belong to anyone? Can names be "chosen" and therefore reserved for the use of one mother to be in a group only?

I don't think so. Names are important, and baby names should be selected carefully if they're important to the parents to be, but I don't think anyone can claim ownership over a name. Most people share their name with at least one other person anyway.

That said, if you have a pal who is expecting and you are expecting too, maybe it would be best to try not to name your children the same thing to avoid all this business. I admit I didn't tell anyone the name I'd chosen for my son, but, then again, neither my husband nor I had totally settled on what that name would be. We had a pool going but there were definite favorites.

The ultimate favorite is what I named my son, Mr. Pickles. just kidding--it's Mercer. If someone else in my little group had mysteriously come up with exactly the same name, which is not a common name at all, I would've been miffed at the very least. After all, the uniqueness of the name for my son would've been lost. I would've felt like one of the things that made my son special had been taken from him.

The truth is, though, our children are special and different from anyone else simply because they are our children. They're all different and unique no matter what their names happen to be.

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AAP issues new advice on food allergies

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I feel very fortunate that Ellie has no food allergies. Cat hair and dander give her problems, but she can eat anything she likes. It must be difficult and stressful to have a child who is allergic to everyday foods. An update on food allergies by the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't offer any help in that regard, but it might relieve the angst of some parents who may blame themselves for their kids' food allergies.

In 2000, the doctors group advised mothers of infants with a family history of allergies to avoid certain foods when breastfeeding. On that list were cow's milk, eggs, fish, peanuts and tree nuts. The AAP also released a recommended schedule for introducing certain risky foods into baby's diet. So, mothers who ate the forbidden foods while nursing or who didn't follow the recommended schedule for introducing certain foods might feel responsible when their child develops food allergies.

Except now the AAP says there is no real evidence that avoiding these foods while nursing lowers kid's risk of developing allergies. They also say there is no proof that delaying the introduction of certain foods such as eggs, fish or peanut butter prevents allergies.

"You never know what's going to come around the corner, but in the past seven years there hasn't been enough evidence to support the old recommendations," said Dr. Scott Sicherer of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Jaffe Food Allergy Institute in New York.

The AAP does maintain that babies shouldn't start on solid foods before 4 to 6 months of age and that exclusive breast-feeding for the first four months can reduce the risk of rashes and allergies to cow's milk.

You can read the entire American Academy of Pediatrics' revised policy statement here.
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Man sues to get son out of catholic school

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Jennifer Jordan wrote about a couple that is being told they cannot adopt because of their beliefs -- or more accurately, their lack of beliefs. At the heart of that issue is one judge's belief that the state constitution, which says "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience," means that a child cannot be raised in an atheist home.

Of course, the glaring flaw in that logic is that that interpretation means that a child cannot be raised in a Christian home (because that would prevent them from worshipping Ganesh) or in a Hindu home (because that would prevent them from worshipping Mohammed) and so on. Whatever the faith (if any) of the parents, the kids are going to be influenced by it and thus discouraged from exploring other religions.

How many devout Catholic parents are going to encourage or even allow their kids to read the Book of Mormon? I know my mother absolutely forbid it and didn't like me hanging out with members of that "cult," as she called it. Basically, most religions, as well as the lack of one, are exclusive to others, so it really doesn't make for a good justification either way.

Well, for David Ryan, in Kentucky, the situation is not so simple. He is an atheist, but his ex-wife is Catholic. When they got divorced, the judge ordered that their son continue attending a Catholic high school. Ryan, however, wants his son in the public school, out of reach of the church. "David feels the orientation and the indoctrination of the church school is harmful to his child," said Edwin Kagin, Ryan's lawyer.

Kentucky's constitution says that "Nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed." What happens, however, when two parents disagree? Does Ryan have any more right to impose his beliefs on his son than his wife does? Kagin is spinning this as a first amendment separation issue, but I disagree -- I don't think this is a matter of church-and-state at all. It seems to me that it is simply a disagreement between two parents on how to best raise their child.

The thing is, the two options -- Catholic school and public school -- are not in opposition. While the Catholic school will be teaching a specific set of beliefs, public schools leave the teaching of any belief system up to the parents (at least in theory). The father is not asking that his son be sent to the we-hate-God school, just to the we-have-no-opinion-ask-your-parents school. Of course, given that the child in question is in high school, I think what he wants and what he believes has great bearing on the case.

I do know of one family where the parents have different beliefs and the kids are going to catholic school, and it seems to be working out. Truth be told, I'm not sure what to think about this -- I simply don't have enough information about the specific case. I do think that it is entirely possible to go to Catholic school and still end up an atheist, even more so if the father discusses his beliefs with his son outside of school. On the other hand, I know I would be extremely upset if someone tried to put my kids in a religious school.

What do you think? Should the kid continue at the Catholic high school or should they opt for taking care of the religious education outside the classroom?
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What's with all the judgment?

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Upon recommendation by a reader of my other blog, I've been reading a rich, heart-string tugging (and apparently famous) book called a Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It's a book about the life of a girl named Francie, but more specifically it's about being young, in a dysfunctional family, seeing the eyes through eyes unfettered with cynicism and cloistered with hope.

One of the most provocative scenes is the book is one where the heroine watches the neighborhood Mothers judge and pelt rocks at a young girl and her baby. The pelting was provoked by smugness, jealousy, scorn and disdain: Mothers judging another young Mother, a Mother who did things a different way, unacceptable to them (she was unmarried and very young) The heroine of the story then vows not to be friends with women, ever -- and makes a disconcerting observation: women seem to have few loyalties to other Moms, except to gossip and thrill in their misfortunes and mistakes. I'm paraphrasing the scene here, but you'll get my drift. Perhaps, like me, you'll be disturbed by the uncomfortable truth of this.

I really wonder why parents (and Moms in particular) seem so predisposed to point out the "mistakes" of Mothers: you didn't breastfeed, your co-sleeping habits are ruining your kid's LIFE, you are a horrible person for forsaking your dog in lieu of your son. We all have the choice to bring up our children in the way we see best for us. I'm not sure why it's so important for so many of us to cackle and heckle and judge others. Don't get me wrong: there are so many women who are supportive and caring and awesome to one another. But there are way too many who are not, and we see a lot of them in the online world.

I've been writing here for two years now, and I can't even count the number of times I've been called moronic, incompetent, weak, stupid, and worse. ParentDish is one of the most popular parenting blogs on the web -- and we're known for stinging, sometimes abusive comments. It's happened to every writer here at one point, and many of us now refrain from writing very personal and honest posts for fear of being ridiculed or attacked. To me it's sad: blogs should be an outlet of truth, free of the constraints of traditional and a soft ground for respectable conversation and debate. But what sometimes happen here is just a microcosm of what happens all over world: "Mommy" wars, mudslinging over Moms who enjoy an occasional cocktail, working moms lambasting stay-at-home Moms and vice versa. Perhaps we don't see the actual rock-pelting that the fictional Francie witnessed in the book, but there is a whole lot of word flinging going on between Mommies.

I have my own opinions about the best way to parent, but they're my opinions and I wouldn't attempt to foist them forcefully on any other Mom. I wonder, why don't we support each other more? We have the most important job in the world, all of us. You'd think that would make us understanding of each other's personal circumstance.
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