Category: Parenting

Will a Baby Rewire His Brain?

Posted on Dec 22, 2014 by 1 Comment

Everyone knows that when you have children you change. You instantly become a parent, although it takes years to feel like you are one.

Most people believe women are hardwired to be parents. They begin changing physically and emotionally from the moment of their child’s conception, but does parenting change men?

A new study says yes.

The research comes out of Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Traditional families, where the mom assumed most of the caregiving, and homosexual couples, where one of the men was the biological father, were studied and compared.

The two father families had shared caregiving responsibilities equally. What researchers found was that maternal instinct isn’t just a woman’s thing but can be developed by either sex that is a hands on parent.

In the homosexual couples, both men developed that maternal instinct. That implies that a man’s experience with parenting can cause the same changes in the brain that pregnancy and childbirth do.

In the past, men in traditional families generally were the providers while the women were the caregivers. I know when I was growing up in the 1960s everyone’s dads worked during the week and sat around on the weekends drinking beer and watching sports.

My dad was very involved with me, more so than most dads, but even so he was not what I would call a caregiver.

It’s an interesting study that’s sure to heat up the argument about whether or not a homosexual couple could parent children and give them the nurturing that is needed. It looks like the answer to that one is a definite yes.

photo credit: FromSandToGlass via photopin cc

Teaching Kids to Wash Hands Properly

Posted on Dec 22, 2014 by 1 Comment

I’m one of those people who after washing their hands in a public restroom grab an extra paper towel to use when I open the door.

After all, according to a recent study only 5% of people wash their hands properly…if they wash them at all after going to the toilet. That means the majority of hands that grab hold of the handle to exit the bathroom leave behind the potential for bacteria I don’t want on my hands.

I know some may look at me as a germophobe, but I’m not really. I let my kids get dirty, and have fun. But cleaning of our hands after using the toilet really is an important part of hygiene and health. In fact the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) refers to it as hand hygiene.

The Michigan State University study published in the Journal of Environmental Health shows that 10% of people don’t wash their hands at all after using the toilet and 33% don’t use soap when they do.

I wonder what those people who just rinse their hands under the faucet think they are accomplishing. Maybe they think they are rinsing the germs down the drain. Sorry, but that doesn’t work.

According to the CDC it takes 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with soap and water to kill germs. So when we teach our kids to wash their hands – with soap – we also have to teach them to do it long enough to accomplish the goal of killing germs.

The trick recommended for making sure you’re scrubbing your hands with soap long enough to do good, is to hum the tune to Happy Birthday twice through. Once you’re done, rinse hands well and dry them with a clean towel or air dry.

Photo credits: healthsupporters

Should Some Baby Names Illegal?

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 by 1 Comment

Last year I wrote about the list of banned baby names in New Zealand which included names like Hippo, Lucifer, and Majesty.

Granted, I wouldn’t pick such a name for my kid, but now members of the July 2014 Birth Club over at Baby Centre are talking about whether or not governments should be able to make certain names illegal. It seems that some typical baby names have even been banned in some places around the world.

Last year a child in Tennessee named Messiah made the news when a judge changed the baby’s name when the parents couldn’t agree on the sir name. That ruling didn’t stick but it does raise the question of whether or not laws should be able to govern what we name our kids.

Along with New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, and Australia have lists of banned names, while in the UK there aren’t any restrictions on what you name your baby with a few exceptional cases where a name is deemed offensive. This includes names like Anal, Fish and Chips, and @. However, the powers-that-be have allowed Superman and Gandalf!

In Germany the ban includes naming your child after a project or an object and in Malaysia you can’t name your baby after a fruit. In Saudi Arabia forbidden names include Alice, Sandy, Linda, and Laura.

A recent article in The Huffington Post says the reason behind these restrictions is that they are trying to spare the kids “embarrassment, ridicule and bullying.”

You would hope that parents would care enough that they wouldn’t put their child such a predicament. But names are a thing of personal preference.

What do you think? Should the government be able to tell parents what they can and cannot name their children? Or is this a matter of protecting children?

Photo credits: Amazon

Link Round-up: DIY Solid Perfume, New Year’s Eve, and More

Posted on Dec 18, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has DIY solid perfume, a New Year’s Eve treat, and more.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make cute Grinch grape snack bags.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make your own solid perfume.

Uncommon Designs Online showed us how to make raspberry walnut baked brie.

Kenarry shared a recipe for Oreo cookie balls that will be perfect for New Year’s Eve.

The Thrifty Couple showed us how to create a wrapping station from a kitchen stool.

Tastes Better from Scratch taught us how to make rocky road fudge.

Sunny Simple Life shared a quick tip on how to make the faucet sparkle.

Photo credit: Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons and Kenarry

Age Appropriate Bedtimes

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

It can be difficult to choose a fair bedtime for kids, especially as they get older.

I love being around my kids but I am usually ready to have some adult time in the evenings.

When my older two were small my (now ex) husband couldn’t handle coming home to kid chaos and so I got in the habit of feeding them and putting them to bed by six-thirty or seven. They absolutely hated it and, looking back, I wish I had put him to bed and kept them up for company.

Live and learn.

My other kids generally have an eight-thirty bedtime until they are fifteen. Then I just let them decide what works for them. I don’t know why I decided that fifteen was the magic age but I did.

I will say that I tend to look the other way if they are reading in bed after bedtime and I have one child that is a Jack-in-the-Box for about an  hour.

Web MD makes the following suggestions:

  • Up until about age three they need about fourteen hours of sleep per day.
  • From four to six they need about twelve hours of sleep a day.
  • From seven to twelve they need about eleven hours per day.
  • From thirteen to eighteen they need about nine hours of sleep per day.

My schedule works for us and I think that the kids do get close to the recommended amount of sleep each day. I can tell when they don’t just as much as I can tell when I don’t get enough sleep.

How do you handle bedtimes at your house?

photo credit: Robert D.M. via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Holiday Food Ideas, Ornaments, and More

Posted on Dec 16, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up features holiday food ideas, ornaments, and more.

Muslin and Merlot taught us how to make clothespin snowflake ornaments.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a dollhouse pillow.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons shared a cute snowman mashed potatoes idea.


Kenarry shared a fun holiday recipe featuring peanut butter and graham crackers.

Uncommon Designs Online showed us how to create vintage stripe aged galvanized buckets.

Musings of a SAHM showed us how to make peppermint pots de crème.

Stockpiling Moms showed us how to make buckeye dip.

Photo credit: Muslin and Merlot and Kenarry

Kids with One Parent Are Not Missing Out

Posted on Dec 16, 2014 by No Comments

Single moms and dads take note — pack up that excessive guilt and send it away. Researchers from UK’s NatCen Social Research recorded information from 13,000 children and then analyzed the data. Guess what?

Children’s happiness has no correlation to the type of family they lived in. When the team questioned seven year olds about their happiness 36 percent said they were happy all of the time and 64 percent said they were happy sometimes or never, regardless of whether they were raised by two biological parents or one.

The percentages were the same even when they divided the children up according to social classes. The results were similar in the 11 to 15 year old age group.

So, what does affect a child’s happiness?

The researchers say that a child’s relationships with his family members and friendships at school were the main predictors of his happiness level. Factors such as negative peer pressure, bullying, and fights had a much larger impact on a child’s happiness than how many parents he lived with.

Single parents, and parents contemplating divorce, have been smacked around by much of society questioning the happiness and emotional health of their children. This study would seem to be a win on the side of the single parent.

Divorce is tough on kids and I am willing to bet few parents contemplates divorce without counting the cost to their children. I know that when I was moving toward divorce, concern for my children was uppermost in my mind.

My thought then, and this research kind of backs me up, is that children in homes where the parents are fighting and unhappy are more likely to have emotional trauma than a child in a home with a single parent who is content.

I grew up as the only child in a two parent family where there was constant bickering and fighting. It did not get physical but the stress level was high. I was (and still am) very sensitive. I’ve always felt, and been affected by, the atmosphere of a place.

When my parents fought I holed up in my room but being alone didn’t muffle the sounds of their fighting, nor did it help to calm the anxiety attacks that usually hit me in waves. When I was older I just left the house so it didn’t bother me quite as much but even so, the animosity level was thick around our house nearly every day.

I was not a happy child. I’d say that I was among the 64 percent who weren’t happy very often. My happiest moments where when I was with just one of my parents at a time. They were each more relaxed away from each other and peace prevailed.

I think that it’s important to keep the big picture in mind when making decisions and, while it’s good to get advice from people you trust, take what other people say about your situation with a grain of salt. They don’t know the specifics and they aren’t the ones living your life.

It’s true that if you’re happy then it’s likely that your kids will be, too.

So, single moms and dads? You can be confident that your kids are going to be just fine. You might want to keep an eye on peer relationships at school, though.

photo credit: Lars Plougmann via photopin cc

Should Hop on Pop Be Banned?

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 by No Comments

Should the Dr. Seuss book, Hop on Pop be banned? One dad thinks so.

Hop on Pop is one of the first books my kids learned to read. I say this so that you understand that I probably will be writing this with a bias no matter how hard I try to be fair.

I bet you’re wondering why this man would want to ban the book and have it removed from his library? Simply put, he feels that it promotes violence against fathers. That’s not all. This dad also requested that libraries issue a formal apology to fathers and pay for damages that resulted from the book.


First of all, I am a firm believer that books are a right and therefore should not be banned. I am personally quite offended by Anton LeVay’s Satanic Bible but I would never ask that it be banned. That’s just opening yourself up for people to randomly ban books that they find offensive.

I know that several high schools in my state talked about pulling Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer from their library shelves and curriculum because of the use of racial slurs that were common in the South in the 1800s and early 1900s. The problem is that without books like that you don’t get a good understanding of the culture in that time period.

Anyway, I am not sure that it’s a great idea to start banning books because someone feels they promote violence. It’s more important, in my opinion, to teach kids a respect for the feelings and rights of others. If they have that ethic then a book is not going to make a difference.

And anti-Seuss Dad? Man up.

photo credit: various brennemans via photopin cc

Carrie Underwood Serenades Her Unborn Baby

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 by No Comments

I’ve been a fan of Carrie Underwood since her American Idol days. It’s like she’s grown up in the public eye since then, but happily she’s retained her sweetness. I

n 2009 she was engaged to hockey player Mike Fisher, and they were married in 2010. Now at 31, I’m happy to see that she’s expecting her first baby…a boy.

The couple broke the news in September, shortly following their fourth wedding anniversary. A week later, her baby bump made its debut at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois.

This week, she appeared on the Tonight Show recently with Jimmy Fallon and talked about her pregnancy. During the exchange, she mentioned that she performs for her unborn son and feels pressure to make it “good.”

It amazes me that she feels that way. Not just pressure to be good, but that she still doesn’t realize how good she really is. That’s one of the things I appreciate about her.

She went on to admit that she feels like she has to sing good all the time, like even if she’s just driving in the car, because the baby is listening. When I heard that, all I could think was “as if she could sing bad.”

Fallon himself is a new dad, and he asked about how her family took the news. She said her parents have a lot of grandkids. “I have lots of nieces and nephews so my parents were obviously very happy, but they’ve heard it all before. They have great grandchildren. I’m slow.”

But on Mike’s side of the family, she said, “Mike’s mom shed a few tears…. She was that kind of happy.”

Carrie is looking great. She’s taking steps to stay healthy on the inside and out with exercise and diet and has been working with Erin Oprea as her personal trainer. It shows!

Photo credits: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon