Archive for March, 2009

Did you circumcise your son?

Two interesting stories about circumcision have caught my eye in the last few days. I wanted to share them with you because they give parents a lot to think about before choosing whether to circumcise or not to circumcise their brand-new son.

The first is a story about a large new study out of Africa that suggests that circumcision can protect against HIV and two other sexually transmitted diseases in heterosexual men.

The Associated Press reports that “Circumcised males reduced their risk of infection with HPV, or human papillomavirus, by 35 percent and herpes by 28 percent. However, researchers found circumcision had no effect on the transmission of syphilis.”

“Landmark studies from three African countries including Uganda previously found circumcision lowered men’s chance of catching the AIDS virus by up to 60 percent. The new study stems from the Uganda research and looked at protection against three other STDs. The findings are reported in Thursday’s New England Journal …

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Crime and punishment in the world of kindergarten

Before my 5-year-old son even has a chance to cross the street after he exits the school bus, he gets the question:

“What did you get?”

He knows exactly what I am referring to. No more explanation needed.

I think Walsh got a "green" on field day at school!

I think Walsh got a "green" on field day.

If he’s had a fantastic, well-behaved day at school he gives me the thumbs up (while trying to balance his back pack, lunch bag and jacket) and yells “GREEN!”

Green is the best thing in the world. Green means no worries and lots of treats. He gets to choose a sweet snack like ice cream. He gets to play on the computer or Wii some during the afternoon. It also means he gets a lot of praise!

If he’s had a bad day and gotten into trouble, he drops his head, pouts his mouth and says softly “I’m sorry. I got a red.”

Red used to mean no sweet treat and no computers. Since he’s gotten so many reds, now red means he also has to go to his room for at least 30 minutes before he can play.

And what if it’s a yellow? That’s when my little lawyer …

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Who would you trust to pull your plug – Parents or Spouse?

My brother has been in the hospital this week for testing and surgery. He is hoping to get on the heart transplant list fairly soon so he is pretty medically fragile at this point.

While I was visiting with him Wednesday night before his surgery, he made a big point to tell me that he wanted me to know that should something happen and he end up in a vegetative state that his wife is to be the one to make the decision to pull the plug, not our mother. (He had told our mother this earlier but he wanted a witness to help enforce his decision.)

He said that he didn’t want to be a burden to his wife, and he knew that our mother would never pull the plug on him.

I joked that I would actually want mother to be in charge of my plug pulling because I think Michael would pull it immediately. “What, she’s been in a coma for a day. Pull that plug!”

I know there are directives you can leave so the hospital knows your wishes, but for now let’s stick to the question:

Who would you trust …

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How have your kids embarrassed you in public?

About a week ago, I was standing in the Publix talking to the fish guy. My 2-year-old daughter Lilina was digging in my diaper bag. I was standing right next to her sitting in the cart but I didn’t notice she had pulled a gigantic maxi pad out of the bag and was unwrapping it. By the time I looked down, she had it completely unfolded and was waving it around. I tried to act nonchalant and grab it quickly and shove it back in the bag, but the fish guy clearly saw it and was smirking. It was pretty embarrassing.

The other day in church Walsh was rubbing my back with his little hand while we were kneeling. And then in a split second he started pulling up my shirt where the ushers could see a little too much. Not as bad of experience as the maxi-pad, but I wasn’t happy about it.

They all do it – most of the time unintentionally. Our little darlings routinely embarrass their parents in public.

How have your little ones embarrassed you in public? Did anyone notice what was going on? …

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Help! My son keeps giving away his toys to the non-needy

I do want my children to be giving (and not just be willing to give away things they don’t want), but I was a little disturbed when my son tried to give to his buddy 10 of the Lego men we had just bought for him. (It wasn’t just to borrow, it was for keeps!)

His little friend spent the night a few weeks ago, and I heard negotiating going on in the basement. My son was more than willing to give his best little buddy one-fourth of the Lego men he had just gotten. (The set cost close to $50.)

I stepped in and suggested he give his friend a few Lego men but not 10. They settled on 3.

I was talking to my girlfriend the other day and she says her second-grade daughter routinely wraps up new toys that she has just gotten and gives them away as gifts to her friends at school.

The mom said even though it kills her, she lets her do it for two reasons. A. She wants her to be a giving person and B. She figures eventually she’ll figure out “Hey, I’m giving away all my good toys.” She …

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Could toddler swimming lessons prevent drowning?

Could starting swimming lessons at a younger age prevent young children from drowning?

In the past this concept has been debated. Some feared that early lessons would lull parents to believe their children were better swimmers (and safer) than they really were. Others said it would prepare them to react in case they fell in the water.

Well, a new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine believes that early swimming lessons can help prevent drowning.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

“A long-awaited study published today concludes that swimming lessons for children ages 1 to 4 lowers the risk of drowning. The study, conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, looked at the association between drowning and swimming lessons in children ages 1 to 19 in six states. Interviews were conducted with the families of 88 children who drowned between 2003 and 2005 and with the families of 213 control children …

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Toddler enters naked phase while siblings find their modesty

With a six-year age difference between our oldest to our youngest we currently are experiencing an interesting dichotomy in developmental phases. I know that our sweet baby Lilina is truly a toddler now because she has entered the “naked phase.” Meanwhile, my almost 8- and almost 6-year-olds have finally discovered modesty.

I think many, if not most parents, would recognize the naked phase. For some odd reason at 2 they just don’t want to be dressed anymore. I think it’s because taking off their clothes is something they can finally control.

Lilina particularly likes to take her pajamas off and on. We put on her pajamas at night and while we’re finishing up with the other two, she strips herself back down to her diapers. She wants to run around in her towel that looks like Elmo. She wrestles and squirms and yells “No!” when we try to redress her.

We started a music class and last week she decided she didn’t need to wear pants during the class. I looked over and she was …

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In which order should ‘Star Wars’ series be shown to kids?

My 5-year-old son is finally showing an interest in “Star Wars.” He’s been playing the Lego Star Wars game on Wii and is having a terribly hard time figuring out how the story line works from the video game. He’s been asking a lot of questions about the characters and their relationships. The plot is kind of hard to explain to a kid who has never seen any of the movies.

So I think it’s time to we show our son at least some of the “Star Wars” movies (The last one is pretty graphic and violent – I might hold off on that one), but in which order would you introduce them?

Would you start with “Star Wars” the first film released in 1977 but technically the fourth film in the series or would you start with “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace”? (The fourth film released but the first in the series.)

My husband thinks it’s a no brainer as he vehemently explained to me the other morning.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt you start with No. 4 because everybody in the world saw 4 …

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Richardson’s death makes me worry about her young boys

I was very sad to read last night about actress Natasha Richardson’s death. Not so much because she was a wonderful actress but because I feel for her two children. I kept searching articles trying to find out how old her sons were and finally found it. They are just 13 and 12.

I’m sure her husband Liam Neeson is heartbroken, but I don’t think even his sadness can compare to what his poor children must be feeling. I can’t imagine losing your mother at such a young age.

Princess Diana’s death was another mother’s death that just broke me up. I still tear up thinking about that little sign that said “Mummy” by the flowers on her casket.

My husband’s mother died the summer after his freshman year in college. He misses her terribly and thinks all the time about how much she would love her grandchildren! His brother was much younger when she died – only 13. Her death affected him deeply and I think changed the path of his life.

Michael always tells me how dependent I am on my …

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One year later: Did you try the 30-Day Sex Challenge?

It’s been a little over a year since our discussion about whether you could manage to have 30 days of consecutive sex with your spouse and if it would improve your marriage. I thought it would be an appropriate time to check back in and see if any of our moms actually tried it during the year and what their results were from the challenge.

If you don’t remember, here’s the background on the 30-day sex challenge for married couples:

A church in Florida wanted to help married couples deal with the major problems in their lives: money and sex.

The church set up a financial series to help address the fiduciary issues. And, for their sexual problems, the church challenged the married couples to have sex at least once a day for 30 continuous days.

The pastor of the Relevant Church in Tampa, Fla., says that God wants married couples to have sex. His church believes that by increasing intimacy the couples will increase communication. The theory is if the couples have sex for 30 days …

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