Blog Posts by The_Stir

  • "I said no!" The real reason kids don't listen

    It's always nice when a smarty pants scientist "discovers" an explanation to some frustrating or bizarre toddler behavior. Stuff like why they refuse to nap even though they are tired, or why they think it's okay to eat a month-old waffle from under their car seat, or, in this particular case, why they just don't listen to anything we say (over and over and over again infinity).

    Like this morning:

    "Aidan, put on your coat. It's cold out."

    "Carolyn, please stop playing with your baby and go potty."

    "Aidan, the coat. Now, please. We're late." (Me forcing him into his coat.)

    "Carolyn, did you go potty yet? Put the doll down and ..." (Me dragging her into the potty.)

    Now, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder say my children are not intentionally trying to push me over the edge. What they are really doing when I think they are blatantly ignoring me is taking all my directions, helpful suggestions, and words of wisdom and filing them away in their

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  • Safe teen driving tips from a NASCAR mom (and you think you worry!)

    In actuality, Becky Sorenson, Georgia-based mom of 22-year-old NASCAR superstar Reed Sorenson, isn't overly worried about her son whizzing around tracks at 200 mph. She's attended or watched every race he's entered and says, "I still get a thrill out of every lap he runs."

    Sure, Becky acknowledges the inherent danger in her son's sport, but notes that he uses every safety precaution available. Reed was only 17 when he won the coveted American Speed Association Rookie of the Year title in 2003 -- the youngest driver to ever win that honor. "I can't let myself dwell too much on the danger factor because I know there are very stringent safeguards put in place by NASCAR," she says.

    However, teen driving -- novice drivers behind the wheel with cell phones, iPods and friends. Now that's scary!

    Sorenson is currently helping Reed get the word out to young people through the Teen Safe Driving Pit Stop program sponsored by Allstate. Together, they speak at high schools talking to

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  • Should we ban fast food near schools?

    A new study in California shows a strong link between teen obesity and the proximity of fast food restaurants to schools.

    According to an article in the LA Times, the presence of a fast food chain like McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut within walking distance of school (about 530 feet or less) resulted in a 5.2 percent increase in incidence of student obesity when compared with students attending schools not near restaurants.

    OK, I know. Obesity can be caused by lots of things including genetics, lack of exercise, and nutrition, but some researchers believe that fast food proximity to schools is a contributing factor. I may have eaten Taco Bell from time to time back in the day. Those spots were a hangout because it was cheap, fast, and (as they say) close to the school.

    But the rate of diabetes and heart disease among young people is growing, so this is serious. State and local governments in California (and across the country) have started to ban

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  • Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli "gets it." In addition to being executive chef at NYC's Butter and having two shows on the Food Network, she's also has a daughter, Ava, 18 months. So she gets what it's like to be a busy mom, and as she says, "not wanting to cook dinner sometimes."

    Last week she shared some frugal but delicious rice recipes with CafeMom. Today she chats with us about one of her favorite budget-friendly foods as well as the challenges of feeding picky toddlers.

    What are your daughter's favorite foods?

    Ava eats everything. She's obsessed with pizza and pasta. The first thing she says when she wakes up in the morning is "pizza." She loves kiwis. Cantaloupe. Cheese. French's a perfect way to re-invent the French fry: Take a couple of potatoes, bake them in the oven, and drizzle with olive oil.

    Ava eats what we eat. If we sit down to eat and she doesn't like it, I tell her, "This is dinner, babe." I do believe in the power of overcoming the

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  • 10 most overlooked hospital bag essentials

    Cute little layette from the baby shower stash. Check. Car seat installed and ready for cargo. Check. Robe and change of clothes. Check. So, you've read all the baby books and think you're ready for the big trip to the hospital, huh?

    Not quite. Far from it actually. Seasoned moms, you know what I'm talking about. Here's a countdown of the 10 most overlooked items that you should stuff in your overnight bag to bring to the hospital. Don't, I repeat, don't go into labor without them. You'll thank me later.

    Top 10 Hospital Bag Essentials

    10. Your own pillow. Because sleep will soon become your second most important goal in life (after loving your beautiful new baby!).

    9. A change of clothes and a toothbrush for your husband -- in fact, you might consider packing a small, extra bag for his stuff.

    8. A DVD player. Labor can be long. It makes standing in line at the DMV seem like a breeze. Having tunes on hand will help if you need to pass some time either before delivering or
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  • Would you tell your child he was conceived by IVF?

    Did you use fertility treatments-IUI, IVF, a sperm donor, an egg donor-to get pregnant? Have you told people about it-friends, family, co-workers? Deciding whether to tell the world (or even just one close friend) is a very personal choice, and some people are much more open about it than others.

    I was going to try IVF, but the doctor wouldn't take me as a patient because of my age (I was 37). He told me I'd never have a baby without an egg donor, which wasn't something I wanted to pursue. Fortunately for me, he was wrong and I have a lovely daughter. So I never really had to decide if I'd tell people I did IVF or not.

    One of my old co-workers did use an egg donor and she's not at all shy about broadcasting it to the world. Yet she had no intention of telling her daughter that she was conceived this way. But then she changed her mind. This woman had breast cancer at an early age, and both her mother and grandmother had it as well. She didn't want her daughter to grow up

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  • Where do kids eat for free?

    Recession dining. Kind of an oxymoron, isn't it? Lots of us aren't going out to eat anymore since cooking at home is so much more cost effective. But sometimes us "big kids" (read: parents) need a break.

    Wouldn't it be nice to know which restaurants near you have free meals for kids? A new website allows you to search by zip code and day of the week.

    Where Do Kids Eat Free Today? aggregates free and cheap meals for kids across the nation. Just type in your zip code and the day of the week you want to eat out, and it spits out restaurants near you offering daily, kid-friendly deals. I love it, because really...who can remember which restaurants offer deals on which days? I sure can't.

    According to the site, parents in my neighborhood (in Chicago) are out of luck on Wednesdays with respect to kid deals. But come Tuesday there are a whole slew of free stuff at Denny's, White Palace, and even the local pizza place down the street!

    Have you been to restaurants where your child

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  • Letting toddlers run around naked -- innocence or indecency?

    Every week, CafeMom airs another real-mom confession -- because, let's face it, it doesn't always work the way the parenting books say it should.

    This Week's Confession:

    I let my toddlers run around the house, the front porch, and the yard without clothes on.

    "So cute, so innocent and free!" confesses one CafeMom.

    "I see nothing wrong with it, as long as the girl isn't of puberty age," another user admits. "If the girl is developing, then I would have an issue because that's when men start becoming pervs (well, men are always pervs, but you know what I mean.)"

    "I'm not worried about perverts looking at my child naked," says a third confessor. "These people are so sick and twisted that they don't need to actually see a naked body. They get as much arousal out of a fully clothed kid at the store. There's not a thing we can do about it but be vigilant and protect our children. And I, for one, am not going to let some sicko curtail my enjoyment of life,

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  • Supermom Marcia Cross is not a desperate housewife!

    Twins! That's what makes Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross's life all the more sweeter. She's been through a lot, but her family is stronger than ever. Marcia and her husband, Tom Mahoney, have been married since 2006. Mahoney is currently receiving treatment for cancer. Their 2-year-old twin daughters, Eden and Savannah, have helped them get through those tough times.

    Marcia, who in real life is nothing like her character Bree, made time in her busy schedule to talk to Michelle Lamar from CafeMom about motherhood.

    Michelle: Tell me about your daughters.

    Marcia Cross: My daughters are the blessings of my life! The difficult thing about having twins is making alone time for each of the girls. I try to make time for Eden and Savannah, one-on-one time with just mommy.

    What's a challenge for you, as a mom of a twin girls?

    I feel guilty sometimes, when I try to spend time with just one of the girls. I love them both so much, it's hard to choose! But I know that it's

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  • How to fire your babysitter

    Maybe you've just lost your job and are becoming a stay-at-home mom. Maybe, as much as you wish you could, you can no longer swing the extra help with the kiddos. There may be numerous reasons why you can no longer afford to pay your babysitter. It still doesn't make breaking up with her any easier. You'd rather walk naked through a pool of dirty diapers than have this talk.

    Genevieve Thiers from tells how to get it over with quickly and professionally, and leave things on a good note.

    Do it face to face
    -- never on the phone or email.

    Do it quickly There's no "good" time to fire someone, so it's best not to wait until the moment feels right. Once you've decided to let your sitter go, do it right away.

    Pick a time when you won't be distracted
    Wait till the little ones are at school, taking a nap, or at their grandparents'. The last thing you want is one child screaming at the other child while you're trying to have a calm, respectful discussion.

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