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  • Mother's Day, Without My Mom

    I love being spoiled by my kids, but something's missing: a chance to hug my own mother

    By Melanie Monroe Rosen

    Courtesy of Melanie Monroe RosenCourtesy of Melanie Monroe Rosen

    "Mama, what did you used to do with Grandma Heather on Mother's Day?" asks my four-year-old as we sat down to brunch. Pause. Swallow. Breathe deeply.

    "Well, we did lots of things," I reply. "We were lucky to have a lot of Mother's Days with her. Sometimes we used to take her out to brunch or make her a special meal at home… Sometimes we went to a jazz concert with her, since that was one of her favorite kinds of music…" I trail off.

    "Jazz? I don't like jazz," he sniffs, and then turns to his dad to ask for the syrup. The moment passes without my dissolving into tears, a minor triumph for me.

    The last Mother's Day I got to celebrate with my mom was May 10, 2009. She was in a rehabilitation center after several weeks in the hospital, following the discovery that her breast cancer had metastasized and necessitated a colostomy. Her illness aside, it was a

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  • Fun Character Cruises with Grown-Up Perks

    Character cruises aren't just for kids anymore. The grown-up perks on Disney Cruise Lines and other epic ships will float your boat

    By Sascha Zuger

    Disney Cruise Line
    Princesses, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Nemo, Woody…plus Mickey

    SHIPS: Disney Dream, Magic, Wonder, Fantasy

    GROWN-UPS LOVE: Stretched out on a cushy chaise, I sip a frosty mudslide and watch a pair of dolphins cavort in the distance. The faint sound of steel drums is interrupted as a barista pops over to offer a plate of brie, raspberries, and warm cinnamon cookies. Being a single mom means time to myself just doesn't happen, yet here I am, wavering on whether to turn the page of my book or not. Suddenly, a steel hook reaches over my shoulder to flip it for me. I call out a thank-you to the passing mustachioed nemesis of Peter Pan, marveling at yet another Disney cast member who can, apparently, read minds.

    The ships go practically everywhere, from Alaska to the Mediterranean. Kris Griffin of Homewood, AL,

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  • How to Make Peace with Your In-Laws

    7 top hot-button issues -- and how to solve them.

    By Margaret Renkl


    Love 'em or hate 'em, every mom clashes with her in-laws. Scroll down any message board and you're bound to read hair-raising tales like the ones on's in-law board. As one mom writes, "My MIL comes over once a week to spend time with my son and uses that day to tell me what I am doing wrong -- I'm feeding him too much, he's not ready to walk yet, it's too cold outside, it's too hot outside, it's too windy outside, his feet are cold, his feet are hot. Apparently I'm an idiot and she is Dr. Spock. My husband and I have fought so much over her."

    Writes another mom: "Most of the time, we visit my in-laws at their house or at a restaurant, where we pay for their meal (even though I stay home and we are on a limited budget -- they never even pretend to offer). One time my MIL handed me a 'gift' for my daughter and said, 'I'm not sure what this is, but here.' Hey, nice to see you put some thought into

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  • Lies in Marriage: What We Don't Tell Our Husbands

    Few of us practice complete honesty in our relationships about everything. And that's perfectly okay…most of the time.
    By Jeannie Ralston

    hiding secretsWhen my husband is out of town and the phone rings after 9 p.m. , I'm sometimes scared to answer.

    Husband: "Hi. How was your…"
    Crash in the background.
    "Hey, are the boys still up?"

    Me: "No. I mean, they're having trouble falling asleep."

    Husband: "What?! It's nearly 10:00!"

    You see, we have different ideas on bedtime. I also conceal my dollar-store toy purchases (he hates "landfill junk" in our home) and the amount I spend on their birthday parties.

    I don't think of myself as a liar; I think of myself as a normal wife, sidestepping and spinning to keep the peace. And I'm not alone: "I keep things from my husband all the time," says Angela, a mom of two in Connecticut. "I just don't want him thinking I'm too much of a softie, say, if the kids broke something or didn't do their chores."

    Plus: Meet the Married Single Mom

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  • Why Good Dads Make Moms Jealous

    How to ditch the rivalry about who's the better parent

    By Melissa Balmain


    "Now stay in bed and go to sleep," my husband, Bill, said as he hugged our 3-year-old son, Davey, good night. "If you don't, I'm gonna talk in my troll voice all day tomorrow." I smiled with pity at this poor, deluded man. Several times a night, Davey had been getting up to look at books. I had spent fruitless hours reasoning with him. No way could Bill's threat make a difference, especially since Davey found his troll-under-the-bridge act more funny than scary.

    But that night, Davey didn't get up once. In the morning he ran around crowing that he'd won and the troll couldn't come. Bill, unlike me, must have known that Davey needed to turn staying in bed into a game. Of course I was grateful.

    I was also just the tiniest bit jealous. Why hadn't I been the one with the great insight? Why couldn't I talk like a troll?

    It's comforting to know that I'm not the only mom who's had such moments. Plenty

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  • 6 Marriage Myths You Should Ignore

    By Fernanda Moore

    ..The world is full of advice for married couples, newlyweds or not -- some of it commonsensical, most of it well-intentioned, and much of it wrong. In the 14 years we've been married, my husband and I have broken all the rules at least once -- and when I copped to friends, most of them gleefully admitted they'd done the same. So I asked them to go on the record as we figured out the biggest myths about marriage. With the help of a few experts (themselves veterans of long, kid-filled relationships), we've decoded what bits of conventional wisdom are worth tossing -- and what are worth tweaking -- from the suggestions we've all heard since walking down the aisle.

    Myth: Never go to bed angry
    It sounds reasonable -- why risk letting a fight smolder overnight only to flare up again the next day? Better to resolve things, sleep soundly, and start fresh.

    What we say: Just agree to disagree until morning -- especially if it's midnight, there's no resolution

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  • How to Choose Your Battles

    You can't fight (or win) every conflict with your kid. Here's how to find the middle ground.
    By Stephanie Dolgoff

    If you're a parent, you're tired. While one might be childless and tired -- after, say, a day of shoe shopping (not that I miss having the time and money for such frivolity or anything) -- having kids means being tired all the time, not just for a few hours after that trip to the mall.

    And when you're tired (which is always; see above), and the kids are, you know, provoking you, and it's only 7:30 in the morning and you've got miles to go before you sleep, you're inevitably going to have to make some executive decisions regarding which battles to engage in and which to concede. Do you let the 5-year-old wear her Barbie nightie to day camp, or do you bar the door until she puts on shorts and a T-shirt? Should you point out to the 11-year-old that there's no way he took a shower (as he claims), or do you pretend not to notice the black crescents under his fingernails that

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  • DIY Easter Egg Ideas

    Try out these creative DIY Easter egg decorating ideas. They'll make you think twice before buying the standard drugstore dye kit. Plus, check out easy Easter recipes for kids!

    By Caitlin Ultimo

    Robin's Nest
    Robin's Nest

    Go back to the basics with this adorable nest; it's easy to create and makes a great centerpiece for your Easter brunch or dinner party.

    Robin's Nest Craft fromThe Crafty Classroom

    Spring Flowers

    Spring Flowers

    Pastel paint creates the perfect canvas for these pretty paper flower cutouts. Cover the whole egg with the flowers to create a fanciful design.

    Paper Flower Easter Eggsfrom Such Pretty Things

    Class in Session

    Class in Session

    Simply brush on some chalkboard paint and let the fun begin! This twist on a schoolroom classic would be a perfect gift for a favorite teacher.

    Chalkboard Easter Eggsfrom LJCFYI

    Be Dazzled

    Be Dazzled

    Simple and sweet, this metallic and vinyl design makes a precious and festive Easter party decoration and is easy for little ones

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  • My Son Had Autism. Then He Didn't

    By Shawn Bean

    I'm trying to hold him, but he's squirming. The airport lounge is packed with people, and I can feel all eyes on me: the dad who cannot appease his toddler. Brandy sees me struggling, and comes up with a quick fix. She flips over the stroller. She places Jackson next to it. He begins to spin one of the wheels with his hand. He keeps spinning it. Over and over and over. He's completely absorbed. I look at Brandy quizzically. She shrugs.

    That snapshot of my oldest son Jackson appeared in a feature story I wrote for Babytalk roughly two years ago: "Solving the Autism Mystery." (There may be no other story I'm more proud of. You can read it here.)

    Jackson was 3 years old at the time, and by all accounts-from mother's intuition to the experts' definition-he was on the spectrum. The behavioral psychologists saw what we saw, but were hesistant to make an official diagnosis. The brain is still developing. So much can change in six months. So time passed. 4Ts became

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  • How to Handle Picky Eaters

    Wondering how to get your child to eat? Here are some no-nag ways to outsmart a picky eater. Plus, try these recipes for picky eaters

    By Nicci Micco

    Picky Foods

    As a baby, my son, Julian, was what you'd call "a good eater." He took to nursing like a champ. He loved purees from his first bite of pears-and ate pretty much anything we offered: beets, parsnips, rutabagas. Finger foods were a hit. Bits of salmon, squash, beans-he ate them all. I was proud. And then I was humbled. Right around Jules's second birthday, he stopped eating spinach. He quit carrots. He still ate corn-but only if it was off the cob.

    "Picky eating is a normal rite of passage," says Jill Castle, R.D., a pediatric nutrition expert in Nashville and a mom of four. "All toddlers at some point demonstrate some level of pickiness." Fortunately, fussy eating is usually a fleeting stage (true for Jules, who, now 3, eats mostly anything). The thing is, your kid's dissing of what you're dishing up rarely has anything to do with

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