Blog Posts by The_Stir

  • Should you have to pass an IQ test to keep your baby?

    A 24-year-old mom in England is only allowed to see her daughter once a month. Is she a bad mom? No. Did she abuse her child? No.

    So what's the problem?

    Well, she's just not smart enough to be a mom. At least that's what the court says.

    Rachel Pullen's baby was born prematurely, had two surgeries, and stayed in the hospital for six months before she was taken to foster parents. Social Services argued that Rachel lacks the intelligence it takes to parent-she has an IQ of 71, which means she has a borderline intellectual ability. (The average adult IQ score range is 90 to 109.)

    Because she's "dumb," Rachel is allowed to see her daughter only once a month. If the latest court ruling sticks, her baby will be adopted in the next three months, and Rachel won't be allowed to see her again.

    "If she's adopted, I've been told I won't be allowed any contact with her, apart from sending her one letter or card a year, and I won't be able to use the word daughter or mother

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  • Can new fathers suffer from post partum depression?

    According to this article in the Daily Mail, some dads might not be as happy about new babies as we might expect...

    According to the article, new books about fatherhood suggest that post-natal depression can hit men as well as women. They reveal that many men feel "demoralized, depressed, or just plain bored" upon becoming a new father.

    Michael Lewis, author of Home Game, An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, admits that he felt "detached amusement" and even "hatred" during the first six weeks after his daughter Quinn was born. (For more on this book, check out Cafe Sheri's thoughtful post commenting on Lewis's NPR interview in which he says he had a tougher parenting deal than his dad.)

    Another author, Steve Doocy, who wrote the forthcoming Tales from the Dad Side: Misadventures in Fathering, expounds on this sentiment, saying there is a reason many new dads feel so clueless. Whereas women are "programmed to mother", he says that "A man doesn't have much of a foundation in

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  • 6 teacher gifts that don't suck

    I imagine every school teacher in America has a dark room in her home filled floor-to-ceiling with "#1 Teacher" mugs, tzotchkes, and smelly bath and body lotions.

    Personally, I love to give my kids' favorite teachers gifts that acknowledge they have a life outside the classroom. Happy personal lives can lead to happier work lives-just like with any profession. And while it's important to let teacher know she's #1, I like to tell her this face to face and then give her a small gift that says, "Now go have a little fun..."

    Here are some meaningful ideas for end-of-school-year teacher gifts that won't end up in that dark dreaded room.

    Consider these gifts for teacher (they're nice, useful, AND eco-friendly gifts too!):

    1. A gift card to Target or Walmart-What teacher can't find something good or useful at these stores?
    2. A gift card to a nearby coffee shop or bakery-Teachers' mornings are hurried too; nothing nicer than being able to run in and grab a quick coffee,
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  • Crocs shoes banned at preschool

    Do your tots wear Crocs, flip-flops, or open-toed sandals to day care or preschool? Mine can't even if they wanted to, since our teachers have banned them.

    Students must show up in the morning wearing socks and sneakers or they won't be allowed to play outside.

    According to my daughter's teachers, several kids at a neighboring school have fallen off equipment while wearing Crocs, leading to some pretty bad boo-boos and a few broken bones.

    Who can say if the shoes were really the reason? Toddlers are naturally uncoordinated and clumsy. But the classic Crocs (there are newer styles out) and other slip-ons are meant for ease, not security or support, so I'm totally on board with this little precaution.

    "I work at a daycare/preschool and we don't regulate it, but I find it very dangerous," says one mom on the Crocs topic. "There are wood chips that pierce right through the bottom of Crocs and into the feet - that happened to me when I was taking the garbage out. Also,

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  • How to remove a splinter step by step

    When I used to get splinters, my mom always told me to "Leave it alone. It will fall out by itself." Well, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. Especially with cases of MRSA on the rise, it's a good idea to remove all splinters as soon as possible. If you can't do it yourself, ask your hubby or see a doctor.

    Otherwise, the skin could grow over it and/or an infection may result.

    Just listen to what one mom had to say:

    "When I was in the 5th grade, I somehow ended up with a splinter on the inside of my elbow and we thought we got it all out," she says. "We missed some of it and I ended up with a form of skin eating bacteria! My little hole from taking the splinter out turned into the size of a dime and took a few weeks of antibiotics to get rid of it."

    Here's a step-by-step for removing a splinter, though there's nothing too surprising here. You need tweezers, possibly a needle, and quick determination.

    1. Wash your hands and the splinter site with soap and
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  • Staying home after baby: still a woman's duty?

    In 2009, is it still safe to say that, after baby, women will become the stay-at-home parents? Does society still believe that if one parent is going to be giving up the career, it's going to be the woman?

    Talitha over on Momlogic asks this very good question: Staying home after baby: Why me?!

    Of course, many families, especially in today's economy or in the case of single parents, don't have a choice to have a parent stay home-even for the first year or the first few months. Giving up an income is definitely a privilege not every parent has. However, when staying home with baby is an option, why is it still assumed that the parent who stays home will be the woman (or maybe more importantly, why do women accept this assumption?)?

    Talitha at Momlogic asks: "Who's to say that I want to take on the new job of staying up all night, staying home during the day, and giving up my work for an uncertain amount of time? Have you asked me?" She continues: "I would like to be asked:

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  • Talking to kids: how to get them to open up

    My 6-year-old will talk to me anytime about his favorite subjects: Bakugans, cars, trucks, soccer, dogs, movies he wants me to let him see, candy he wants to eat.

    But when I want to have real conversations about school and life -- stuff like, What did you learn today in class? Are you getting along better with that boy? How did your teacher like your insect project? -- I get the typical one-word answers: "Nothing," "I guess," and "good."

    It's not his fault. There are usually a million other distractions in the way: the TV blaring, his sister blowing bubbles in her milk at dinner, the neighbor boy visible through the window in our tree swing.

    I'm not at my most attentive, either, scrambling to fix dinner or getting another load of wash in.

    I've found that the best time for both of us is right before my son's bedtime, with the chores done and him tucked away all nice and calm and cozy. All of those distractions have been left outside or downstairs, with me as the main

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  • Just had a baby; please send cash!

    A few weeks ago I did a post asking "What would you buy for your baby if you had oodles of money?" By far, the most popular response was "a college fund." As someone who put herself through college and law school with student loans and part-time jobs, I, too, would love for my daughter to go to school without having to worry about money. Financial experts would, of course, say I should start saving now. But what if I don't have any extra money to put aside? Is it appropriate to ask friends and family to give my baby money instead of all those stuffed animals, clothes, and toys that she doesn't really "need"?

    That's the question that was raised over at The Juggle. An expectant father eager to jump-start his baby's college investment plan (a 529 savings account) wanted to know if it was okay to ask friends and family to contribute to college-savings funds as soon as the baby was born.

    Cindy Post Senning, a director of the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vermont, had this

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  • Teach your kids to relax by relaxing

    Do you actively demonstrate relaxation around your kids?

    A couple recent posts in the blogosphere are discussing the benefits of using a little TV (or movie watching) time to relax with your kids. TV lounging is not only a more passive way to connect with your kids, but it might teach them a valuable life lesson: relaxation is good for the body and mind.

    In the post The joys, and benefits, of slackerdom, mom Betsy Shaw admits, "I tend to look at movies the same way I look at play dates and toys: as tools of liberation. They exist solely to divert my kids' attention away from me, so I can get back to doing all the things that will be undone by my them as soon as the movie, play date, or game is over."

    Then she goes onto share about about a day she actually stops, reclines on the couch, and watches the movie with her kids and how positively this sets in with her kids. The kids very much enjoyed her presence, even her TV-watching presence.

    In the post Parenting: Happy

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  • What kind of song is that to sing to a baby?

    My husband and I are hoping to raise our daughter to be bilingual, so we've bought her a lot of French music. Many of the songs have been sung to babies in France for generations, and my husband grew up hearing them. But after singing them to our daughter recently, he was a bit taken aback.

    One song is about sailors that run out of food and are going to eat the cabin boy, so he tries to hang himself. Another is about a girl who is happily skipping about until she meets some officers who make fun of her and call her trash for wearing clogs. Huh?

    And when you think about it, the songs and nursery rhymes in the U.S. aren't any cheerier. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and couldn't be put back together, Jack and Jill tumbled down a hill, Rock-a-bye baby falls out of a tree, Little Bo Peep lost her sheep and finds their tails hung out to dry, a spider scares Miss Muffet, and so on. Not really the kind of stories that will inspire sweet dreams as your little one drifts off to

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