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  • Would You Have an Ultrasound Party?

    iStockphoto / Veer

    By Kate Goodin
    There are lots of creative ways to announce the sex of your baby to friends and family, from a simple Facebook post to a gender cake party. For parents-to-be who are (very) open to sharing pregnancy news, the latest trend: throwing an ultrasound party.

    Plus: Fun Old Wives' Tales to Predict Gender

    Licensed ultrasound techs across the country have formed side businesses in parties where they bring a mobile ultrasound machine and perform a sonogram for the mom-to-be and guests (often with drinks and snacks in hand). At $100-$350 a pop, they're not exactly cheap. Most of the parties are given for the gender reveal, but some are just an occasion for people to see the baby up close. "It's more of an experience and less of an in-and-out procedure," said Teena Gold to TODAY Moms, who is one half of a partnership that runs Babyface & More, which provides ultrasounds at parties.

    Plus: Test Out our Chinese Gender Predictor

    Some doctors question the idea of

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  • Small Talk: New Year's Resolutions asked kids what their resolutions are for 2013. Grown-ups take note: we should all have such lofty goals.

    More from Parenting:
    5 Easy Mocktail Recipes
    Yummy New Year's Brunch Ideas
    Ab Workouts for Moms

  • "Skype Saved My Marriage!"

    VeerAs told to Elizabeth Jenkins

    I love my wife, Diane, like crazy. But I still wanted to pull my hair out sometimes.

    What did we fight about? Money, for one. I was used to spending at will; she insisted every purchase be made together. Another flash point was the in-laws. They tended to butt in, and we weren't on the same page about them.

    PLUS: The least-likely nanny

    Diane pushed therapy; I pushed back. I hated doctor's offices. We had no time. So Diane, a Google fanatic, found a Skype counselor.

    Neither of us had used Skype before, so it didn't feel natural at first. We spoke with our therapist at night after our kids were asleep. It was more helpful than I expected. The most useful trick I learned was to clarify what my wife meant-mirroring-before I replied. And I learned how to tell a complaint from a criticism. A complaint like "There are socks on the floor again!" isn't a personal attack.

    Had we not started Skype counseling, we'd have made each other's lives hell

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  • A New Kind of Children’s Hospital

    © Courtesy Nemours

    By Shawn Bean
    Timber Branagan preferred the orange light. No wait, the green light. Oh, and the red too.

    "I loved all of them!" the six-year-old says enthusiastically. Choosing a custom color for her hospital room was one of Timber's favorite perks at Nemours Children's Hospital, the new 60-acre health campus outside Orlando. Her mom, Andrea, adds that her daughter preferred the purple light at night.

    Take a photo tour of the facility

    Timber also made full use of the 10,000-square-foot garden terrace on the fourth floor. She was admitted with a mystery illness, having suffered through six weeks of debilitating headaches that left her sleeping 18 hours a day. By Day Three of her six-day stay at Nemours, the physicians had it figured out: encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. By Day Four, she was racing her older brother around the terrace's 40-year-old, 6,000-pound live oak.

    Set amidst a wooded expanse of central Florida, with theme park roller

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  • Why Asperger’s Didn't Cause the Sandy Hook School Shooting

    By Sasha Emmons
    The news shows were abuzz over the weekend with still unconfirmed reports that the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, had Asperger's syndrome, a higher functioning form of autism. In the desperate search for answers, some are wondering: could there be a link between autism spectrum disorders and this kind of catastrophic attack?

    In a word, no. Autism experts are rushing to quell the notion that the two are somehow connected. Although kids on the spectrum can be reactively aggressive out of frustration, the kind of premeditation required to carry out an attack of this magnitude is totally inconsistent with what we know about this disorder. The hallmarks of ASDs are repetitive behavior, trouble with social interaction and communication challenges-not long-term violent tendencies.

    Plus: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders

    "One of the most important things I want people to know is that autism did not cause this," says Lisa Goring, vice president of family

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  • A Sandy Survivor, Thankful for How Much She Still Has


    By: Christina Vercelletto

    I had the day off on Friday, and was finishing my Christmas shopping.

    I was dragging through it, not much in the mood. My life had been upheaved by Sandy, and little seemed like Christmas at my house. My block is still a depressing mess. Nobody has decorations up. Half the families we know and love aren't living there. Rebuilding is taking longer than expected, and I hated it. The top floor of my home, where six of us are living, including my mother, is cluttered and cold, perpetually dirty from sand and muck tracked in and out. Patience and tempers are wearing thin. I am sick of not feeling normal.
    Plus: Talking to Kids About the Newtown School Shooting

    Waiting in line at Walmart, I decided I was bagging sending cards this year. Who would blame me?
    Then the woman in front of me turned and said "Did you hear?"
    Oh god. Now what? Locusts?
    "No. What?"
    "There was a shooting in a school in Connecticut. All these kids dead."
    "What? Really?

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  • How to Talk to Your Kids About the Newtown School Shooting

    By The Editors of
    We are absolutely heartbroken to have to be sharing these tips today.

    But in the aftermath of the horrific Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting this morning, images of terrified children and adults will be ubiquitous in every form of media for days to come. Parents might be dealing with sad and scared kids, children who will ask about what happened in Newtown, whether it can happen to them. Then there is the unanswerable: "how could this happen?"

    If you are struggling with the right thing to say, these tips from Dr. Paul Coleman, may help provide some solace. Coleman is a psychologist and author of How to Say It to Your Child When Bad Things Happen and has extensive experience specializing in anxiety disorders and marriage and family concerns. We are only too sad to be sharing his advice today - and are counting the minutes until we can race home to hug our own kids.

    Be a soothing example.
    If you are personally traumatized in any way by

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  • How Elf on the Shelf Saved Christmas

    elf on the shelfBy Christina Vercelletto

    With two older brothers, my 8-year-old-daughter, Amelia, was street-smart for her age. Santa was on life support after the previous Christmas, when one of the boys pointed out to her that the Santa gifts and the gifts from us were wrapped in the same paper. I was doing my best to keep her "little," but I sensed her sweet, innocent stage was on life support, too.

    The day before Thanksgiving last year, I bought an Elf on the Shelf on a whim. I thought it was just a cute decoration. Amelia had been after me to get a tree, but it was way too early. It was meant to hold her off.

    Plus: DIY Christmas Gifts

    She read the enclosure as I was stirring cranberries and sugar and boiling water. Homemade cranberry sauce was the only thing I made from scratch, because it could be done ahead.

    "His favorite food is sugar cookies."

    "That makes sense."

    "If you touch him he loses his magic."

    "Really? Huh."

    "And every night he flies to the North

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  • Tips for Surviving Santa Photos

    © Parenting.comChild photography tips you need to read to get the best Christmas pictures, even if your kid is scared of Santa

    By Michelle Hainer and Beth Weinhouse

    Jill Berry, a mom in Woodbine, MD, recalls her toddler's first photo with Santa. "She was fine in line, then hysterical when I handed her over," Berry recalls. The resulting photo: "a red-faced toddler, a bewildered Santa, and me, on his lap, wearing a ski jacket and an old shirt." Oh, the memories.

    PLUS: Top Gifts for Kids

    It's a ritual of the season: taking your child to the mall so he can tell Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas, and scoring an adorable photo of him sitting on the jolly one's lap. But not all kids are game. Some take one look at the fat old guy with that big white beard…and freak out.

    PLUS: Hilarious Scared of Santa Pics

    Think about it: This ginormous, hairy guy shows up once a year and you thrust your kid onto his lap, says child psychologist Jonathan Pochyly, Ph.D., of Children's Memorial

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  • Sneak Peek at the New National Children’s Museum

    © National Children's Museum

    By: Matt Villano
    Traveling families don't get to celebrate new children's museums all that often. In the next four months, however, we'll get to will welcome two: the National Children's Museum, which opens next week (Dec. 14) in National Harbor, Maryland (just outside Washington, D.C.); and the DISCOVERY Children's Museum, which is expected to open in February in downtown Las Vegas. In advance of the NCM's big day, I caught up with Willard Whitson, the facility's president and CEO, to get the inside scoop.

    PLUS: Museum Sleepovers for the Whole Family

    Q. What would you say will become the distinguishing characteristics of the NCM?
    A. Definitely our focus on global citizenship. Our mission statement is to inspire children to care about and improve the world, and we have an overarching emphasis on global citizenship and world cultures. We also take play very seriously. We are committed to learning through play, and have put together a number of interactive

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