• What's in your baby's mattress might give you pause.It's a parenting challenge that's endured through the ages: getting our babies to sleep. Oh, we've heard the stories about "dream babies" who slumber through the night starting at two months old, who lie in the crib for six or seven hours at a stretch while their lucky parents catch the same uninterrupted, blissful zzzs. For most of us, however, that's more of an urban legend than a reality--at least in the beginning--and we're lucky when our little one agrees to a one-hour nap, tucked away in her nursery, in the middle of the day.

    But these challenges--should we sleep train? Ferberize? Cry it out?-- are not what Richard Corsi, chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, is talking about when he says that "understanding the sleeping environment is important to the health of infants and adults." Corsi, in an important piece by the University of Texas at Austin, is concerned with the pollutants present in a child's sleep space, based on a study's

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  • 10 Parenting Truths I've Learned10 Parenting Truths I've Learned

    Lately I've been feeling a bit down on pregnancy. I know it's a wonderful blessing to be able to grow a tiny human, but it's also super exhausting doing so while chasing around a toddler and working from home. So, in order to boost my spirits, I decided to take the time to focus on the positives…the lovely, unexpected perks of pregnancy if you will. Yes…I promise there really are some!

    10 Unexpected Perks of Pregnancy

    1. Hair growth can slow

    Now, this doesn't happen for everyone, but it does for me! During my final trimester of pregnancy my hair growth slows to a near standstill which means less shaving. A definite perk, since it's not always so easy contorting my pregnant body to shave these days!

    2. People are so nice!

    People are generally nicer and friendlier when they notice you're pregnant. Strangers will open up doors for you and chat you up like never before. It's like everyone wants to be a part of the tiny everyday miracle that's happening and I find it really

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  • Dear Son: I Hope You Fail

    Dear Son: I Hope You FailDear Son: I Hope You FailDear son,

    Looking at you - my 5-year-old boy, months away from stepping into your kindergarten class - I'm overwhelmed with wishes and hopes for your future. As any mother is. I hope you make friends in a leadership-type way, rather than being herded along against your better judgment. I hope you retain this incredible excitement toward learning new things. I hope you find something that sparks a passion inside of you, and I hope that you believe in yourself enough to pursue what makes you happy.

    I also hope you fail.

    I hope you experience moments of struggle.

    I hope you feel disappointment and live through difficult times.

    Now that might be jarring to read, as it's hard to write - to feel. I have this primal urge to throw my arms around you as a shield from anyone or anything that might knock you down. Anything that might hurt you. You're my baby.

    But I'm also your mother.

    My goal is to help you develop into a good, empathetic, productive person who brings more

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  • Censoring Violence in Animation: Have We Taken One Step Forward or Two Steps Back?Censoring Violence in Animation: Have We Taken One Step Forward or Two Steps Back?About a week ago, a good friend and I took our children to go see Frozen once again for the sing-along version of the movie. While both of us (and our children too, of course) absolutely love the film, I didn't give much thought to the Disney short Get a Horse!, which preceded it. While it's an eye-popping 3D-flick that has won critics over with rave reviews, my friend wasn't keen on it.

    "Don't you think it's very violent?" she asked me while we were sitting in the cinema with our popcorn and our children beside us, glued to the big screen. She explained that she didn't like the kidnapping of Minnie Mouse, the violent outbursts, and the cat-and-mouse nature of the film.

    I hadn't really given Get a Horse! much thought since first seeing it back in November, other than realizing that Mickey and Minnie's frenemy Pete seemed to have really mellowed down since his heyday in late 1920′s animation. In comparison, the Pete we see today in Disney Junior's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse seems very

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  • 10 People You Hate When You're Trying to Get Pregnant10 People You Hate When You're Trying to Get PregnantNext month marks two years since I started my journey to motherhood. It's not an anniversary I'm eager to celebrate. I thought, for sure, I'd be gearing up to celebrate a first birthday by this time, and not a "still no baby" post.

    If you've followed my story from the beginning, you know that I keep a positive attitude - about 99 percent of the time. I think one of the reasons I'm able to stay so upbeat through this all is because I allow myself to feel the crappy days, the defeated moods. But sometimes, the day just gets you.

    I write this today with a light heart, and I very loosely use the word hate. I actually don't hate anyone. But, more times than one, I've found myself rolling my eyes - or totally cringing - at these 8 types of people you learn to hate when you're trying to get pregnant. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

    1. Women With Four or More Kids
    A single child is understandable. Two makes sense. Three is actually quite nice. But four? Or more? Today?

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  • Why You Shouldn't Be Uncomfortable Around Me and My Kid with Special NeedsWhy You Shouldn't Be Uncomfortable Around Me and My Kid with Special Needs"Max is getting quite the beer belly!" I joked to a neighbor the other day. We were talking about how much our boys had grown. Max, 11, has gone through a major growth spurt this past year, partly induced by his love for mac 'n cheese. "The pediatrician told me that because of the cerebral palsy, the muscles in his stomach are a little slack so it sticks out a bit more," I said, matter-of-factly.

    [Awkward silence.]

    In an instant, I knew I had crossed a line. In the eyes of the other mom, bringing up Max's CP -- even though I wasn't in the least bit bemoaning it -- had shifted the conversation from congenial to serious.

    "Anyway, I have to reduce his portions, has a doctor ever suggested that to you about his kids?" I asked, steering things back to familiar mom chitchat territory.

    It's happened before, this awkwardness and flummoxed looks on other mothers' faces when I mention Max's cerebral palsy. Not close friends, but people who don't know us that well. Me, I never think

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  • New Survey Shows 40 Percent of Mothers Claim Alcohol Helps Them ParentNew Survey Shows 40 Percent of Mothers Claim Alcohol Helps Them ParentPerhaps this comes as no surprise to you. We've all heard the jokes about mommy-juice, mommy's little helper(s) and the general lackadaisical attitude (except when it comes to the consumption of) that many take when it comes to drinking and motherhood. I consider myself a part of that tribe. I make the jokes too. I in fact, can go so far as to admit that I do INDEED enjoy a glass of wine or a beer (or two!!!), on a weeknight, no less!

    Is there a relation between the stress brought on in my day-to-day mothering and how much alcohol I consume? Does having a glass of wine at the end of a long day help melt away the anxiety and the tension creased up in my neck from flinching and cringing after countless whining sessions and whatever else my darling yet exasperating toddlers toss my way?

    Sure it does.

    I'd be lying if I said it (alcohol) didn't (help).

    There is a striking difference I think, amongst those who use alcohol as a crutch with alarming frequency and supply, and those

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  • The receipt, for $17.38 in groceries. Photo: True Stories of a Midwest YankeeA simple, generous act of kindness can be so life changing — especially when it means the difference between kids going hungry or having full bellies. A poignant blog post written by a mother of five made a beautifully honest illustration of that recently.

    More on Shine: Good Samaritan Pays Stranger's Baggage Fee at Airport

    “To the Woman Behind Me in Line at the Grocery Store," posted on March 19, was republished by the Huffington Post on Thursday. In it, the woman, who identifies herself only as Andrea, thanks an unknown fellow shopper for paying for her groceries, which totaled just $17.38, after being faced with an out-of-service EBT machine and an empty wallet. Her tale has captured public empathy, with many readers commenting with supportive sentiments and even job offers. "I am overwhelmed. I am humbled. I am awed," she tells Yahoo Shine about the positive response. "I am also amazed. I am honored that people trust me with their stories. I am pleased that the vast majority are

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  • By: Ivy Jacobson for TheBump.com

    Photo: OK MagazineThe Jersey Shore is going to have to prepare for a tiny new visitor soon! Snooki and her fiance, Jionni LaValle, announced today in a cute blog post that they're expecting their second child.

    More from The Bump: Are you ready for baby number 2?

    "Jionni and I are so excited to confirm that we are expecting our second child! Now knowing that our test results are good and our baby is healthy, we can finally talk about it! We planned to have a second child before our wedding, and will indeed still be getting married in the fall of 2014. We are a committed family that will raise our children to be the best they can be and give them the best life we can give them… Big things are happening this year with the wedding, moving into our dream house and having our second bambino or bambina!"

    More from The Bump: How do I prepare my toddler for another baby?

    Snooki also told Us Weekly that she's due in the fall around her wedding date, so we're hoping that Read More »from Snooki is Pregnant with Baby Number 2!
  • Eve MacSweeney

    Emily BluntEmily BluntEmily Blunt has won over Hollywood with her effortless wit and wry, British charm. Now she's embarking on her most ambitious production yet: motherhood.

    "It's really the coolest thing that's ever happened to me," says Emily Blunt of imminent motherhood. Never mind her debut on the London stage at eighteen alongside Judi Dench, directed by Peter Hall; the Golden Globe she won for her performance in the BBC movie Gideon's Daughter, with Bill Nighy; acting opposite Matt Damon, Ewan McGregor, Meryl Streep (twice), and swinging on wires in an "exosuit" with Tom Cruise in this summer's sci-fi spectacular Edge of Tomorrow. On a sunny January afternoon in Los Angeles, Blunt couldn't be more excited about the baby "pretzeled in there," as she puts it, a month or so away from birth.

    "I feel good," she says, "although I do wake up feeling like my grandmother. I sleep with a fortress of pillows around me. I've got one of those huge C-shaped ones," she adds. "My husband

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