Archive for February, 2012

Anti-smoking ad turns into breastfeeding battle

A New Zealand rugby player was featured in an ad about not smoking around kids. Piri Weepu posed feeding his infant daughter a bottle.

Well the La Leche League in New Zealand didn’t like this because they said the ad didn’t send the message that breastfeeding was best.

From Bob Trott on MSNBC:

“Weepu found himself in a breastfeeding firestorm recently when the New Zealand government put him in an anti-smoking public service announcement. The ad initially included an endearing two-second shot of him feeding his 6-month-old daughter from a bottle. However, the country’s Health Sponsorship Council bowed to pressure from La Leche League and other motherhood advocacy groups, which claimed that the image didn’t mesh with its core message: that breastfeeding is best for children. ‘It’s really important that those messages are consistent across the board,’ New Zealand La Leche League director Alison Stanton said.”

Here, you can see both the anti-smoking ad and the …

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Ohio shooter: It could have been anyone’s child

As of Tuesday afternoon, three of the five students shot in the Ohio school had died. The 17-year-old accused of the shooting had appeared in court and his photo was all over Yahoo news wearing a flak jacket.

I am so sad for all the families who have lost children, but feel particular pain and sympathy for the alleged shooter and his family.

Why sympathy for the alleged shooter? Because it could be anyone’s child sitting there having made this terrible mistake.

A 2002 study by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education points out there is no profile for school shooters. It’s not always the Goth kid or always the lonely kid or always the bullied kid. It could be anyone.

The Secret Service studied case files and other primary sources for 37 attacks by current or former students, and also interviewed 10 of the perpetrators.

From MSNBC, which pulled 10 school shooting myths from the report:

“The demographic, personality, school history, and social …

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Do video games and impulsivity go hand-in-hand?

Can too much time playing video games lead to impulsive behavior and attention problems in kids?

A new study published in the journal Psychology and Popular Media Culture suggests there is a connection between video games and impulsive behavior (or vice versa), but not necessarily a cause and effect relationship.

From HealthDay News:

“In other words, people who spend more time playing video games subsequently have more attention problems, and “individuals who are more impulsive or have more attention problems subsequently spend more time playing video games,” according to the report published in the current issue of the journal Psychology and Popular Media Culture.”

“For the study, attention problems were defined as difficulty engaging in or sustaining behavior to reach a goal, the authors explained in a news release from the American Psychological Association.”

” ‘This is an important finding because most research on attention problems has focused on biological and …

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What’s for dinner during Lent? Are meatless meals really a sacrifice today?

Growing up, we were a meat-and-potato kind of family and Lenten Friday meals were truly something my brother and I dreaded. My mother is a perfectly fine cook except when it came (comes) to seafood.

She would buy frozen cod that would stick to the cardboard box in which it was packaged. She would try to peel away the box, which never gave me much confidence in where that meal was headed. She would then cook it on the broiler inside the toaster oven. (I don’t know why she wouldn’t use the regular oven.) It was slimy and tasteless. There was no sear or texture. Just overall it was a truly terrible meal.

Those meatless cod Fridays were a sacrifice at our house. However, so many families serve meat alternatives now that I don’t think it’s a big deal to give meat up on Fridays. In fact I have to go out of my way to make the meals less enjoyable because for us seafood is a treat – a luxury even. (Prices are high I think – maybe because I live in the desert now!)

For …

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Did Target know you were pregnant before you told?

The New York Times Magazine recently ran an amazing story about how Target and other stores are analyzing every single purchase you make to predict what you might buy and how they can change your habits to purchase things you didn’t even know you needed.

The story by Charles Duhigg was adapted from his new book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.” The article explains how people form habits and how companies use statistics to figure out what you’re likely to buy and what habits you have formed. They also use highly targeted marketing campaigns to entice you into changing your habits and purchase their products.

The article is nine screens long and I can only pull a little bit so you simply have to click on the link and read the ENTIRE article. It is well worth your time! Go on, read. I’ll wait and then we’ll discuss.

Here are some of the highlights from the article:

  • People buy out of habit. It’s hard to shake them from brands and places …

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Oscar party with your kids or adults only?

Michael and I are so excited about the Oscars on Sunday. We love movies and have been “working” diligently to watch as many Oscar contenders as we can  before the big night.

I hadn’t really planned on involving the kids too much in our Oscar celebration. (When I say Oscar celebration I mean us watching the Oscars – maybe with some cocktails and appetizers.) I figured they would be doing their own stuff upstairs in the playroom. (I did run across on Babble some cute Oscar crafts to do with kids.)

I think Rose would be into watching the stars on the red carpet before the Oscars. She likes fashion and is interested in some celebrities. The kids haven’t seen very many of the contenders so they don’t really have a dog in the fight. (Although she loved “Hugo” and I am sure would vote for it for Best Picture.) I think Rose may wander in and out for the Best Make Up, Costumes or Music Awards. Normally she is interested in the Best Animated movie but I think her …

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A Dad needs our advice: Another family is taking advantage, but Dad knows they need help

A dad sent me a note needing some advice. Here’s what he wrote:

“I am a part-time stay-at-home Dad. I have an only son who is in the second grade.  I am going through a situation where there is another family in the neighborhood that wants me and my son to entertain their son on the weekends. I feel for the family as they have two additional children, one who is an infant and one who has special needs.”

“From my perspective, they seem overwhelmed with child rearing duties – (I know I would be if I were in their situation).  I feel bad for the boy as he seems to be grasping for attention. In the beginning I wanted to help them out but now I feel like I am just being used.

“This last weekend was a four-day winter break and I had the boy for two hours on Friday morning because we were doing a club activity, then I had him for four hours on Saturday because the Mom needed a break.”

“The kicker for me was yesterday I received a text from the father asking if my son wanted to do …

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Would your family set individual 30-day challenges?

Lent begins today and some families will choose to give things up or add things, such as prayer or charity work, into their routines.

But it doesn’t have to be Lent or even related to religion for families to create their own 30-day challenges.

A mom friend was telling me that almost every month her family takes on individual challenges.

So for example, one month the mom challenged herself to do a 100 sit ups every day. Her sons have challenged themselves to eat vegetables every day or to make their beds every day or to ride their bikes every day. The dad gave up meat for a month and ended up staying vegetarian. Recently he’s trying to go 30 days without using a microwave. (I think that would actually be hard to do!)

I love the idea of the children choosing their own challenges and their own goals. I love that the family does it together, and that there’s always next month to try something new.  I like that they are living so thoughtfully.

Our family is setting …

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7 crazy discoveries about pregnancy

A new book “Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy,” by Jena Pincott, looks at a surprising facts about pregnancy.

Here are a few from The Huffington Post:

1.  Men do think pregnant women are sexy.

2.  Women carrying girls grow larger breasts than those carrying boys.

3.  If you dream about the sex of the baby, you are often more correct than just a guess.

4.  Women who dream vividly during their pregnancy have faster deliveries. Women who have nightmares deliver even faster.

5.  Skinnier women are likely to have daughters.

6.  Around the third trimester a woman starts producing pheromones that can affect her partner and help him nurture the baby.

7.  Your baby’s cells remain behind in your body.

Did you find any of these to be true for you or for your friends?

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Sex-change treatment on the rise for kids, but is that too early?

According to the journal Pediatrics a small but growing number of teens and even younger kids who think they were born the wrong sex are getting support from parents and doctors for sex-change treatments.

From The Associated Press:

“It’s an issue that raises ethical questions, and some experts urge caution in treating children with puberty-blocking drugs and hormones.”

“An 8-year-old second-grader in Los Angeles is a typical patient. Born a girl, the child announced at 18 months, “I a boy” and has stuck with that belief. The family was shocked but now refers to the child as a boy and is watching for the first signs of puberty to begin treatment, his mother told The Associated Press.”

“Pediatricians need to know these kids exist and deserve treatment, said Dr. Norman Spack, author of one of three reports published Monday and director of one of the nation’s first gender identity medical clinics, at Children’s Hospital Boston.”

” ‘If you open the doors, these are …

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