Archive for September, 2011

New pat-down policy at airports for kids under 12 soon

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the government will be rolling out a different airport pat-down policy for children under 12 in the coming months. (The Transportation Security Administration later clarified stating it would be a matter of weeks.)

Speaking before a Senate hearing on Tuesday she announced that the change will occur but didn’t specify what the new policy will be.

She also said that these children will no longer have to take off their shoes to be screened.

From The Associated Press:

“Some travelers and privacy advocates have complained that children, who don’t appear to pose terror threats, are subject to intimate pat-downs that involve Transportation Security Administration screeners touching private areas. Children under 12 will also be spared the hassle of taking off their shoes as they go through check point security, Napolitano said.”

In another article on, she said there could be exceptions:

“Napolitano said there may be …

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Trend increasing for single moms to meld households

Remember “Kate and Allie” from 1980s TV? Two divorced moms move in together in New York City to share expenses and help raise their kids. Well thanks to a terrible economy and women realizing the benefits of having another mom in the house, the trend of single moms moving in together seems to be growing.

From Babble:

“Communal living might be experiencing growth because of the anemic economy, but it’s not exactly new. Between the American communes of the 1960s, kibbutzes, and the oft-quoted “it takes a village,” sentiment, Americans aren’t exactly in the dark about the idea. But with the dramatic rise in unmarried mothers giving birth (from 18 percent in 1980 to 41 percent in 2008), as well as a rise in the likelihood of single mother households falling below the poverty line (a scenario 9 times as likely to happen in 2009 as it was in 1990) single moms are facing persuasive — if stark — reasons to cohabitate. Add to that the reality that the average single …

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‘Allergic to algebra’ shirt sending wrong message to our girls?

The store Forever 21 is apparently selling a shirt that says “Allergic to Algebra” on it and some folks say it’s sending a bad message to our girls.

From Jezebel (click the link to see the shirt):

“Did you miss the opportunity to buy JCPenney’s “Too Pretty For Homework” shirt because it was quickly pulled from the market for being outrageously sexist? Thankfully, Forever 21 is giving you another chance to tell your daughter that you think she’s bad at math — and that’s perfectly fine! As this tee says, girls are “Allergic to Algebra.” In other words, they’re born with a physical inability to do math.”

“According to retailers, girls long to wear their stupidity on their sleeve. You know, because ladies can’t be smart and pretty, and the best way to show boys that you’re focused on being hot is to giggle and refuse to apply yourself in class.”

“When a Redditor spotted this shirt in the store, someone had affixed a Post-it that reads, “Smart girls are cool. …

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Too sad after watching 9-11 anniversary coverage

I watched probably more than six hours of CNN’s coverage of the 9-11 anniversary yesterday throughout the day. I cried until my eyes were sore and red. My head hurt, and I just felt completely spent. (I can’t imagine how the families who lost someone felt!)

We had good talks with the children. They basically knew what happened but it was interesting for them to see the memorial and the families affected. They found it hard to believe that the kids we saw on the TV were babies when they lost their mother or father in the tragedy.

Walsh couldn’t understand how the terrorists got weapons on the plane. He’s flown many times with us and said with all those metal detectors and body searches how could anybody sneak anything on the plane? We tried to explain that those measures were because of 9-11, and they didn’t use to do that.

Rose was only a few months old when the attacks happened. I was sick with a cold and was at the doctor’s office when the first plane hit. Michael …

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How realistic is ‘Dance Moms’ on Lifetime?

Recently, I have caught several episodes of “Dance Moms” on Lifetime, and I just can’t believe what I am watching is real. It’s hard to decide if this dance school owner/instructor is really this harsh to the kids and if the moms are really this competitive or if this is all just for the camera.

Check out the video above to get a taste of the action. It’s hard to describe because it’s so crazy. The owner Abby Lee is extremely dictatorial and doesn’t seem to recognize that these families are paying customers. The favoritism toward some students is immense but is that something they need to learn deal with or should they have to at this young age — especially when they are paying just as much to be there? The moms and kids are spending hours at the studio each day. I have no idea how the children get any homework done.

I have never been in the environment of a truly competitive dance circle, and I am wondering is this what is really happening in these studios and …

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Is your school celebrating Patriot Day?

Both of my children’s schools are celebrating Patriot Day this year to remember those lives lost during 9-11, but I swear this is the first year I’ve heard it called that.

According to Calendar Updates website Patriot Day was signed into law on Dec. 18, 2001, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone call it that before this year. I remember a moment of silence and prayer at the time of the attacks over the years. But I don’t remember the schools naming it and having activities surrounding it.

Maybe it has picked more official activities since 2009 when “President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which recognizes September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, calling upon Americans to make an enduring commitment to serve their community and our Nation.”

One of the schools is technically celebrating on Monday. They are having a read-a-thon and parents coming in to read with the kids. They may have other patriotic proceedings but that’s all …

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Daddy’s laundry conundrum: Is this yours?

When you pass down clothes, laundry day is tough for Daddy! He’s very confused as to who now owns what.

Two weeks ago while working, I watched from my desk as Michael proceeded to hold up articles of clothing and quiz our 4-year-old: Is this yours? What about this? What about this?

Because we do hand stuff down Michael isn’t sure who is currently wearing what. You would think size would make it obvious, but not always. He finds tunic dresses and swim suit cover-ups particularly confusing.

I think because I do the swapping of the clothes from big sister to little sister I know who is now wearing what, but it’s all a surprise to him.

Underwear definitely presents a problem a for him.  I think he divides it up randomly. He must think Rose has a giant bottom because she often gets mine and Lilina often gets Rose’s. Walsh is the only one safe from the rotating underwear game.

I am very grateful that Michael does the laundry and I don’t have to deal with it, but I do …

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Cell or landline: Which number do you teach kids?

A friend is trying to decide which number they should teach their kindergartner: the landline, mommy’s cell phone or daddy’s cell phone?

Even just six years ago when my oldest was 4 people were still teaching the landline numbers. Rose and all her preschool friends diligently learned their home phone numbers.

When we took a trip to Hawaii later that summer, we realized that the landline didn’t do a whole lot for you if your child got lost out of town. Or lost in general – if you’re with them at a park or lake calling home won’t do the authorities any good. I ended up making the kids wear lanyards when we went sightseeing with our names, cell phone and the hotel we were staying in written on a card.

Despite that lesson, we taught Walsh the home phone number as well, and then we moved. As we drove across country I worked on teaching the kids my cell phone number. And that’s the number Lilina will learn this year.

It’s clear for my kids to learn mom’s cell …

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Should sperm donors’ offspring be limited?

There are new concerns that there are too many offspring coming from some U.S. sperm donors that could result in the increases or genetic diseases and increased odds of incest between genetic brothers and sisters who have never met.

From Discover Magazine:

“But something very strange has been going on over the last couple decades, and the New York Times covers it in a recent piece: some donors’ sperm has been used many, many times—so many times, in fact, that people are starting to get alarmed.”

“Up to 150 children each have been born from the sperm of popular donors, far more than donors and mothers had anticipated. American sperm banks don’t keep rigorous records of children born from donor sperm, nor do they limit the number of children born from a particular donor (a chance, some might say, for sexual selection to run out of control—those green-eyed geniuses can be mighty sought-after). Parents only find out that their child has dozens of half-siblings when they …

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Kids who live with smokers miss more school

Children whose parents smoke miss more school than classmates with non-smoking parents possibly because of a rate of higher respiratory infections.

A study, recently reported in the journal Pediatrics, found that among nearly 3,100 families in a national survey, children who lived with smokers missed an extra day out of the school year, on average.

They also tended to have more ear infections and chest colds than their peers.

While scientists say the study doesn’t prove that parents’ smoking itself leads to more absenteeism, doctors hope it will encourage parents to quit the habit.

From Reuters:

“The researchers estimate that the extra school absences linked to smoking cost parents $176 million in lost wages in 2005 — assuming a working parent stayed home each time a child was sick.”

” ‘Since almost half of the smoking households in our study had low incomes,’ Levy noted, ‘that impact may be strongest on households least able to afford it.’ ”

” …

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