Latest Mother And Daughter News

Mother whose pregnant daughter was killed in a car crash has a new baby of her
Maria Williams, 40, and her eldest daughter, Sophie, 20, were pregnant at the same time and used to compare their bumps. The mother and daughter were both expecting girls who would have been raised 'like sisters' – even though they were aunt and niece.
Read more on Daily Mail

Mother Of Daughter Kidnapped From School Testifies, Jurors Brought To Tears
On Wednesday, the victim's mother spoke in court. It began with a phone call—her daughter was not at school for pick-up at daycare—had she asked anyone to pick up her daughter? The mother started making calls to family and friends who could have …
Read more on CBS Local

Mom feeds daughter tapeworm to lose weight?
A nurse on a recent episode of “Untold Stories from the ER” claims a Florida mom gave her teen daughter tapeworms so she would lose weight for a beauty pageant. Medical personnel were unable to determine what was wrong until the patient went to the …

Latest Working Mother News

Working Mother, Washington Powerhouse? Good Luck. | By Neera Tanden
Unlike most women, I was fortunate in two crucial ways: I had a husband who was truly a co-parent, and I had a boss who would give me the flexibility to do my work while still upholding my responsibilities as a mom. One memorable day, Hillary even …
Read more on National Journal

Katherine Heigl: Being a Working Mom Made Me "Angry and Frustrated"
Katherine Heigl faced an ugly truth when she became a mother in 2009. A series regular on Grey's Anatomy at the time, the actress found it difficult to maintain any kind of work-life balance, and soon grew resentful of her hectic schedule. "I would …
Read more on Us Magazine

Nancy O'Dell: How the Caregiver and Working Mother Finds "Me Time"
As ET kicks off its 34th season this month, we asked the Myrtle Beach, S.C. native, 48, to share her secrets to work-life balance, the challenges of the sandwich generation and her favorite celebrity interview. We've heard you're a runner. How do you …
Read more on Wicked Local Brockton

Law Society Children Panel Solicitor Ravi Mahey Joins Duncan Lewis Solicitors

London, United Kingdom (PRWEB UK) 13 August 2014

Legal 500 recommended Law firm Duncan Lewis are pleased to announce that Law Society Children Panel Member and Family Solicitor Ravi Mahey has joined Duncan Lewis as a Director and Joint Head of the firm’s Childcare department based in their Harrow branch.

Ravi, who joined Duncan Lewis as a Director and Joint Head of the Child Care Department in August 2014 qualified as a Solicitor in 2002. Prior to joining Duncan Lewis, Ravi worked for one of the largest regional Child Care Teams in the Midlands for six years and in 2011, Ravi joined a city firm in London as a senior member of the Children’s Law department.

Ravi brings to the firm particular expertise representing parents and young people involved in care proceedings involving a wide range of issues including drug and alcohol misuse, violence, chronic neglect, mental health difficulties or mental incapacity and learning difficulties. Ravi has significant experience representing teenage mothers and fathers who have been in care themselves and has also acted in a number of cases involving applications by the Local Authority for a young person to be placed in Secure Accommodation and applications for Emergency Protection Orders.

Ravi brings her experience handling complex cases. She has been involved in complex medical cases involving allegations of ‘baby shaking’, non-accidental injuries, attempted murder and also factitious illness syndrome. Ravi also represents parents and children in private law children disputes and has been involved in a number of cases where parental alienation exists.

In addition to Public Law proceedings, Ravi also acts for victims of domestic violence and has particular expertise representing individuals where there have been serious allegations of sexual, physical and psychological abuse. She has frequently hosted seminars and workshops catered towards frontline aid workers/agencies with regards to the law and coordinates various advice surgeries and clinics. Ravi undertakes pro bono work on a regular basis and is committed and dedicated to assisting vulnerable members of society whenever possible.

Recently, Ravi has been involved in a number of complex child abduction matters. She also regularly represents adults seeking to adopt and receives referrals from local authorities to act for adopters.

Ravi is part of the central Family Court duty advocacy scheme and volunteers for same on rotation. She is a keen advocate and has represented clients in the Family Proceedings Court, County Court and High Court.

Ravi added in regard to her recent move to Duncan Lewis Solicitors; “I am looking forward to joining a very highly regarded child care team“.

Ravi is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, Resolution and the Association of Lawyers for Children. She is fluent in Punjabi and conversational in Hindi and Urdu.

About Duncan Lewis

Duncan Lewis, established in 1998, is the largest civil legal aid practice in the UK and one of the country’s fastest growing firms of solicitors, serving both corporate entities and private individuals from offices across London and throughout the UK. A recommended leading law firm by Law Society Lexcel, Legal 500; Duncan Lewis employs over 500 members of staff and was the first law firm to achieve the Investors in People Gold Quality Standard Mark in 2009. Representing over 25,000 clients per year, the company has an excellent reputation in the Administrative Court, High Court and Court of Appeal in the Immigration, Public law and Family/Child Care jurisdictions.

Established areas of law are: business immigration, child care, civil liberties, clinical negligence, community care, crime and fraud, dispute resolution, debt and insolvency, employment, family and divorce, housing, asylum and immigration, litigation, mental health, personal injury, prison law, professional negligence, public law and administrative law, regulatory matters and welfare benefits.

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Wimbledon Health Partners Continues Expansion Appoints Stewart Whyte as Chief Operating Officer

Boca Raton, FL (PRWEB) August 07, 2014

Wimbledon Health Partners (WHP), a leading on-site diagnostic testing company, appointed Stewart Whyte as Chief Operating Officer in yet another sign of the company’s increasing market leadership. Whyte, a healthcare industry leader, has been charged with managing the growing organizations operations. With a successful track record in major to early stage companies expanding over 35 years in the healthcare industry, Mr. Whyte will apply his leadership expertise with some of the most innovative healthcare companies in the world to his newly appointed position with Wimbledon Health Partners.

Hiring Mr. Whyte is further evidence of Wimbledon Health Partners enduring commitment to enhance the strength of its executive team. Whyte brings with him major achievements from his experience with Liberty Life, Discovery Holdings and Destiny Health. As Chief Executive of Operations, Charter Member and Senior Executive Director of Operations with Destiny and Discovery Health, he succeeded in migrating the back office functionality of Destiny Health, in Chicago, IL to its parent company, Discovery Holdings in South Africa. The same model was utilized in the joint venture between Discovery Holdings and Prudential Health Insurance, UK. Additionally, Mr. Whyte chartered the operational aspects of Discovery Health, collecting contributions of $ 200 million per month and a market cap worth $ 2 billion.

Mr. Whyte will focus his efforts on further developing Wimbledon Health Partners exceedingly well-run operations. He will draw on his extensive knowledge of claims processing systems, contribution management, medical management services, and leadership in implementing a model department to further the forecasted growth.

“I am truly excited about joining Wimbledon Health Partners, as the potential for growth both inside the United States and internationally is seemingly limitless. Although I have been in healthcare for over 35 years and have been involved with both small and large ventures, the potential I see at Wimbledon has me very excited. Wimbledon has built a solid foundation and with my extensive knowledge and contacts in the industry we are well on the way to building a billion dollar company,” stated Whyte.

About Wimbledon Health Partners:

Wimbledon Health Partners is a national on-site diagnostic testing organization with capabilities for diagnosing circulatory conditions that can be detected through the use of cardiovascular ultrasound and echocardiogram. Additional capabilities include nerve conduction velocity testing (NCV), which is utilized to support the diagnosis of nerve involvement of circulatory disease, and help assess cardiovascular risk. Wimbledon Health Partners provides an innovative cooperative marketing and practice-enhancement program to physicians with the educational, compliance, and marketing tools necessary to deliver quality state-of-the-art in-office testing procedures. For more information go to or call 855-200-8262.

LaDonna Harris Honored in New York For 'Legacy' as Activist, Working Mother

LaDonna Harris Honored in New York For 'Legacy' as Activist, Working Mother
LaDonna Harris, president of the Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), on Wednesday received the Working Mother Legacy Award from Working Mother Media during the Multicultural Women's National Conference in New York City. In a packed ballroom at …
Read more on Indian Country Today Media Network

It's an endless cultural conversation: How can women strike a healthy balance
First off, biology: Until men can get pregnant, give birth and lactate, there is never going to be a day where more is not expected of mothers who work than fathers who work. When it comes to raising children, biology may not be destiny, but it …
Read more on Los Angeles Times

Mixed Roots Foundation Hosts 2nd Annual Adoptee Night with MN Twins – Friday, August 15th at 7:10 p.m. at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) July 24, 2014

Mixed Roots Foundation is proud to announce its 2nd Annual ‘Adoptee Night’ with the MN Twins who just recently hosted the MLB All Star Game at Target Field. The MN Twins will take on the Kansas City Royals at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN on Friday, August 15, 2014 at 7:10 p.m. Mixed Roots Foundation continues to expand its signature ‘Adoptee Night’/'Adoptee Day’ sporting events including partnering with major league sports such as the MLB, MLS, NFL, NASCAR, NBA, WNBA, and NHL.

“We are excited to partner with Mixed Roots Foundation again to present the 2nd Annual ‘Adoptee Night’, a special night for all those who are touched by adoption and foster care in the Twin Cities,” said Landon Oldenburger, Group Sales and Service Executive, MN Twins. “As a commitment to baseball, but more importantly to family, we hope that this special night will encourage everyone to get more involved and support Mixed Roots Foundation’s efforts in providing important resources including funds for adoptees and for the organizations that serve them.”

“As an adoptive parent of six African American children whom we adopted out of foster care, we know and understand the importance of creating a safe space for adoptees and their families to come together to share their common adoption experiences,” said Rick Spielman, General Manager, MN Vikings. “We have been so blessed and now it is time to give back – We look forward to continuing to work with Mixed Roots Foundation in raising awareness and utilize sports as a platform to further support adoptees and their families – GO TWINS!”

The MN Twins in partnership with Mixed Roots Foundation will donate a portion of all signature ‘Adoptee Night’ ticket sales to benefit its local community partners that provide important programs and services to adoptees and their families. Tickets cost $ 17 which include a pregame reception to take place at Herbert’s Bar and Grill (on Target Field Plaza) from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., the raising of the Twins Territorial Flag, and Fireworks after the game. In addition, all ‘Adoptee Night’ ticket holders will receive a signature ‘Adoptee Night’ rally towel. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit For groups of 30 or more, please contact Landon Oldenburger – 612.767.2960 or email landonoldenburger(at)twinsbaseball(dot)com. To sponsor, please contact Fred Zermeno at 213.219.1060 or email fzermeno(at)mixedrootsfoundation(dot)org. To become a community partner, volunteer, or learn more about Mixed Roots Foundation, please LIKE Mixed Roots Foundation on Facebook, call 800.659.6958, or email events(at)mixedrootsfoundation(dot)org.

Latest Divorced Mother News

Got daughters? You're more likely to get divorced – and the trouble started in
Scientists at Duke University in North Carolina have found that female embryos are hardier in the womb, so they are more likely to reach full term if the expectant mother is in a stressful relationship. Duke University economist Amar Hamoudi said in a …
Read more on Daily Mail

'Me and You' movie review
… for a school trip, Lorenzo uses the cash for it to buy a week's worth of junk food, setting up a cozy if somewhat claustrophobic encampment in a basement storage unit of the apartment building that he lives in with his divorced mother (Sonia …
Read more on Washington Post

'The loss is horrendous': Cory Monteith's mother Ann McGregor opens up for the
Almost a year to the day since her son was found dead in a hotel room, Cory Monteith's mother has spoken out about coming to grips with the loss of the son she calls 'baby bear'. Until just a few days ago, Ann McGregor could not even look at pictures …
Read more on Daily Mail

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation Adds Franchise in Charlotte, NC

Boston, Mass. (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (SVNIC), a commercial real estate services franchisor, is proud to announce the addition of its newest franchise office, Sperry Van Ness/Percival Partners, LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Led by Managing Directors Joey Godbold and Bob Percival, the organization will focus on full service commercial real estate brokerage, disposition/acquisition, leasing and property investment services in Charlotte and surrounding areas.

Godbold and Percival bring an extensive 35-year background in the commercial-investment real estate industry. Joining Sperry Van Ness® represents the next phase of growth and client service for SVN/Percival Partners, LLC, a mainstay of the Charlotte market that was founded in 1961 by Percival’s father and mother. As Managing Director and CEO, Godbold leads a team of top Advisors who continue to drive business through a progressive and sophisticated client-focused business model designed to respond to the client’s interests including commercial and investment sales, leasing and property management. Percival continues to provide leadership as Managing Director and company Chairman. The team at Sperry Van Ness/Percival Partners, LLC now adopts the revolutionary SVNIC compensated cooperation platform and advanced technologies to become a recognized leader in the area’s dynamic and highly competitive brokerage industry.

“We found the business model of SVNIC to be compelling,” says Managing Director and CEO Joey Godbold. “The breath of the global reach, the innovative approach to technology and research, and the training and national leadership that is available to our local Advisors through the SVN Product Councils will all greatly enhance our ability to assist both our Advisors and clients.”

SVNIC is the only commercial real estate firm that markets all of its properties nationally to a 100,000-member brokerage and investment community. Producing $ 8.1 billion in sales and leasing transactions in 2013, SVNIC shared commission fees with co-operating brokers approximately 80 percent of those transactions. Working with its own competitors to bring the highest bidder to the table allows SVN Advisors to see gains from closing more deals in less time. Advisors also reap the benefits of the SVNIC cloud-based enterprise system that enables easy, on-the-go access to property listings and client contacts; real-time data sharing; and software that allows for the assembly of professional proposals and marketing materials.

“We are committed to providing our clients with the most comprehensive resources available in the local market,” says Managing Director and Chairman Bob Percival. “Through the Sperry Van Ness® platform we can offer extended influence and leading edge technologies.”

To learn more about becoming an SVNIC commercial real estate business owner, visit

For more information about Sperry Van Ness/Percival Partners, LLC, visit

About Sperry Van Ness International Corporation

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (SVNIC), a commercial real estate brokerage franchisor, is one of commercial real estate’s most recognized brands, based on the annual Lipsey Survey. The SVN® Organization includes more than 180 locations in 200 markets. With headquarters in Boston, Mass., SVN Commercial Real Estate Advisors provide brokerage, tenant representation, consultation, asset management, property management, and leasing, accelerated marketing and auction services. SVN Advisors represent clients in office, multifamily, retail, industrial, self-storage, hospitality, marina and land transactions, charter schools, corporate real estate, and medical offices. All SVNIC offices are independently owned and operated. For more information, go to


Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong Launches New Family Package

Hong Kong (PRWEB) July 01, 2014

Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong has always been passionate about offering a comfortable stay for families where they can spend quality time together. With this vision in mind, Cosmopolitan Hotel launches its first-ever family-oriented campaign named Beyond Thoughtful – Family & Us, and under this campaign a series of new and exciting family-friendly amenities have been introduced. .

Cosmopolitan Hotel offers over three varieties of family rooms to suit a wide range of needs, which include Family Quad Rooms, Ocean Park Suite and Toy Suite. Guests staying at any of these rooms will be treated to a host of complimentary benefits. These include FUN-cation specials, such as premium body and skin care for kids, a mobile storybook library, PlayStation, special sweet treats, a welcome gift, free toys and educational bookmark.

“We want our family guests who stay with us to be able to experience a stay that is fun, entertaining, yet educational, that they wouldn’t normally experience in any other downtown hotels in Hong Kong. More so, all their kid’s needs are well taken care of the moment they check into their room. Our family package ensures all the families are treated with the finest family friendly amenities and every stay for the little VIPs is made unique and memorable with our heartwarming touches,” said Ms. Chan, the General Manager of Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong.

Cosy and Luxurious Family Quad Room with Two Double Beds to Fit Four

Measuring 32 square metres/340 square feet, Family Quad Rooms at Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong are specially designed to accommodate two adults and two children, with two double beds readily available in the room. For new parents, a pair of bed rails or a baby cot can be arranged upon request. Everything on a parent’s ‘to-pack’ list, we have it covered.

Staying at a Family Quad Room will entitle guests to a full range of kid amenities for kids if booked via the hotel’s official website. Extra features including free room upgrade to the newly renovated Grand Family Quad (applies to when booking a Family Quad Room and subject to availability), a complimentary toy, free in-room Premium Wi-Fi and free use of smart phone with 3G Internet, which comes with special features like interactive maps, Hong Kong city guide, a host of exciting discounts across the city and unlimited local and IDD calls to selected countries.

Award-winning Themed Suites – Ocean Park Suite and Toy Suites

Both the Ocean Park Suite and Toy Suite offer the same range of amenities for kids as the Family Quad Room and include a full range of FUN-cation specials. Measuring 48 square meters / 520 square feet, Cosmopolitan Hotel themed suites feature a spacious living room and dining room. The Ocean Park Suite includes three Ocean Park admission tickets (two adults and one child), an Ocean Park souvenir, and a round-trip limousine service to and from the Ocean Park; whilst the Toy Suite is designed in accordance to a mini playground with all kinds of toys and little gadgets to keep the little ones busy . All suites have stunning views of the city’s skyline and the race course.

Head-to-toe Pampering for the Little Ones

For parents, a quality family accommodation begins from the choice of bathroom amenities. Like every mother would care for their juniors, the hotel has specially handpicked only the best toiletries that would make for quite an enjoyable experience. The premium kid’s toiletry bag features an extensive range of skin and body care products that every mother would find useful. . These products have been designed in a way where babies with sensitive skin are also taken care of.

A An Enlightening Stay Infused with Educational Elements

There is never a dull moment when staying at Cosmopolitan Hotel as the kids will find plenty of educational and fun-filled activities to enjoy. For kids who love to read, the hotel has a Mobile Storybook Library with extensive storybook stories, delivered to the room on request, here kids will be able to choose their favourite titles and enjoy reading the books in the comfort of their room. An inspirational bookmark specially designed by a popular local designer will also be awarded to kids who love to read. There are several educational cards found in the room with each delivering a special message to remind kids about healthy habits even on vacation.

Endless Surprises and Free Treats For the Little Ones and Parents

Children love surprises and gifts. So every child arriving at the hotel will instantly be offered a snack box featuring all-time favourite snacks and healthy juices that a child would like from a friendly hotel staff. More sweet surprises are hidden in the room! Last but not least, the ever popular free-to-pick Toy-cart overflowing with all sorts of toys and gadgets is available to let the kids choose their favourite toy! All of these thoughtful perks will surely guarantee that little ones enjoy a stay full of pleasant surprises. Other in-room amenities include various TV channels for kids, Wii games, kid’s dental kit, bathrobe, slippers, baby bed rails and many more.

Impressive Presentation To Ignite A Joyful Stay

The presentation of the gift and amenities has been given much thought so that even the parents will find it heartwarming. More so, the hotel is also providing a point-to-point free shuttle bus for guests to 15 tourist destinations every day. The shuttle bus to Ocean Park is available every Friday to Sunday, and parents who purchase Ocean Park tickets at the hotel concierge will get to enjoy the ride for free!    

Reservations for family rooms with value-added features are available from now till 31st December, 2014. To enjoy all of the fun features, make a booking via the official website of the hotel at

Family-friendly Service and A Perfect Holiday Location For All Seasons

Besides the handpicked amenities and fun features, the hotel’s point-to-point free shuttle bus to 15 popular tourist locations, makes exploring city a breeze for families . Stanley market, Stanley beach, and The Peak are all within a 20 minute bus ride . A 15 minute walk will provide families with convenient access to yet another tourist hotspot – the Wan Chai Heritage Trail featuring 15 historical sites including Blue House, Wan Chai Market, Nam Koo Terrace and the Starstreet Precinct. The public bus stop is right at our doorstep ensuring easy access to Wan Chai, Admiralty, Wan Chai and further to the rest of Hong Kong. For a more relaxing tour on the island, a tram stop is available outside the hotel offering an affordable means of transport for travellers to experience the fascinating sights of the city and learn of the local culture.

About Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong

The award-winning 4-star Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong is situated amid Wan Chai and Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island giving its guests convenient access to all business, shopping and sightseeing locations. The hotel is a mere 8 minute walk from the subway station / Times Square and a 10 minute drive from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong offers 8 types of rooms and suites ranging up to 48 sq. m. The signature Deluxe Course View Room offers a breathtaking view of the horse racing grounds and sport field in front of the hotel. Complimentary shuttle bus service is available to 15 destinations via five routes and all rooms are equipped with 200Mbps ultra high speed Wi-Fi Internet. Other facilities include the He Jiang restaurant that serves Huai-yeung cuisine, the 3T Bar, a gym room and various meeting spaces.

Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong has been recognised by Michelin as being the most comfortable hotel for three years consecutively and is also the recipient of Certificate of Excellence for the years 2012 and 2013 by TripAdvisor. The recommendation accredits its outstanding service and soothing environment for global travelers. Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong is owned and managed by Dorsett Hospitality International and is a valuable member of WorldHotels.

Media enquiry:

Jowie Wong

Communications Manager

+852 3552 1810

Wendy Mak

Senior Communications Officer

+852 3552 1808

Arc Energy Resources director wins 2014 Institute of Directors South West regional award

Gloucestershire, UK (PRWEB UK) 26 June 2014

Commenting on winning the award Andrew says: “This is a great boost, as the business celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. I have worked here for six years and have been a director for just under a year. The first thing I did was enrol on the IoD director courses so that I would know what I was doing. I was really pleased to pass, especially when the IoD told me I was one of the top scoring directors.”

Arc Energy Resources was founded in 1994 by Andrew’s father, managing director Alan, and his mother Rosemary is also a director. Since joining the business Andrew has been working in a variety of roles, including procurement and scheduling, aiming to learn as much as he can about the firm. The company is a specialist in weld overlay cladding services, providing protection against corrosion and wear for equipment in the oil & gas, nuclear and processing industries. It is currently on target for a record year and has just signed a lease for larger premises. The expansion will include a dedicated research and development facility as well as plans to expand its involvement in the UK’s resurgent nuclear power industry.

The South West’s IoD Director of the Year Awards seek to highlight outstanding business people. They aim to celebrate achievements across the region, bring all parts of the enterprise community together and focus UK-wide attention on South West success.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Stop Group Chat in iMessage on iPod Touch

kid-josh. (Jan. 29, 2012). Cyberbullying, would you do it [photo].


Has this ever happened to you? Your tween daughter somehow becomes part of a group chat on iMessages with several of her closest "friends." The next thing you know, the insults start flying. You tell her to simply leave the group, but you soon realize that this is impossible. As long as one member of the group continues to hit, "Reply," your daughter is stuck receiving unwanted text messages.

Apparently, there is a glitch in the Apple system that prevents users from leaving group chat situations. In fact, your daughter might not have even joined the group voluntarily. Anyone can just include her username in the chat, and she's in, whether she likes it or not.

Oftentimes, when a group member tries to ask other members to help delete the group, he or she is ridiculed by the other members. My daughter experienced this when members of her group began arguing and she asked them to stop and text elsewhere. Group members turned on her and said they were going to get revenge for her comment.

I encourage all parents who have experienced this situation to urge Apple to allow iPod Touch users to leave group chats with its next update. Contact them at 

Until enough parents complain and Apple decides to update the iOS system, the only way to get rid of a group chat is if everyone in the group deletes the messages. So what can you do if a group chat member refuses to stop hitting, "Reply"? Here are your options:
  1. Ask the group members to delete the group: A strongly worded message from "Sally's Mom" asking all group members to delete all group chat messages and stop hitting, "Reply" will sometimes motivate the group to let the chat die.
  2. Talk to parents: If group members refuse to stop the abusive texts, a phone call to a parent or two should do the trick.
  3. Turn off iMessages: Go to Settings--Messages, and turn off the iMessage app.
  4. Don't allow your child to create an iMessage account in the first place: Go to Settings--Restrictions--Accounts, and click "Don't Allow Changes." 

The iPhone does have an option under Messaging that allows users to select "No" to Group Messaging. Unfortunately, the iPod Touch has no such option, which is the device most tweens are using before age 12 or so.

Until this glitch is resolved, please be sure to monitor your daughter's text messages closely. A friendly group chat can quickly get nasty if one group member gets offended. And if anyone finds a way to delete a member from group chat on the iPod Touch, please let me know.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

No Justice When It Comes to Tween Body Image

Like most 10-year-old girls, my daughter loves to shop at Justice. So I was flipping through the latest Justice catalog that came in the mail, and I noticed a disturbing trend. Before I point out the obvious, see if you can see what's wrong with the following pictures:


OK, so besides the fact that these supposedly "tween" girls look about 18 years old, did you notice anything else?

How about the fact that all the girls have the exact same body shape? They are all tall and skinny with long arms and legs. They are all the same height and weight. Even all of their arms are the same length. Creepy, right?

Now think about how your daughter must feel to see an entire catalog full of girls "her age" wearing the clothes "everyone has to wear," yet she doesn't look at all like these girls. She's not as tall as they are. Her clothes don't fit her the same way. Her hair isn't as shiny as theirs, and her teeth aren't as straight and white.

What message is Justice sending our daughters?

After looking at this catalog, I decided to have a conversation with my daughter about body image. I asked her if there was something strange about all the girls in this magazine, and at first she wasn't sure. But when I pointed out that all the girls looked the same, she realized what I was talking about and wanted to know why.

I explained to her that companies like Justice choose girls that look a certain way to model their clothes. I also mentioned how the girls in the television shows my daughter watches tend to look the same way, such as the girls in "A.N.T. Farm," "Shake It Up," and "Austin and Ally" (although the Trish character in this show doesn't fit the mold).

We talked about how the media makes some girls think that their bodies aren't good enough if they don't look like the girls in the magazines. I pointed out to her that only a small handful of her friends look anything like the girls in those pictures. She has friends of all shapes and sizes, and it's all OK.

She seemed to understand what I was saying, and I was glad that we had that talk. Now I need to start preparing myself for the real girls who will soon start telling my daughter she's not pretty enough or tall enough or skinny enough. She will be in middle school next year, so it won't be long now.

I could be outraged with Justice for promoting this unrealistic body image to young girls. But I actually saw it as an excellent opportunity to talk with my daughter about her own body image and to reinforce her unique beauty. Fortunately, she has high self esteem and doesn't feel the need to compare herself to others. She's happy just the way she is. I hope her confidence is strong enough to get her through her teenage years in one piece.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why I'm Glad the Twinkie is Toast

To all of you nostalgic saps who are mourning the potential death of the Twinkie, I offer the following quiz:

How many Twinkies have you actually consumed in the past month? (NOTE: You should not count this week when the world decided that Twinkies were edible again.)
  1. If your answer is more than 10: How old are you, and how high is your body mass index?
  2. If your answer is between one and nine: Really? You picked a tasteless batch of chemicals over a Swiss Roll or an Oatmeal Creme Pie? 
  3. If your answer is less than one: Move on with your life and stop trying to relive your childhood.
The fact is, Twinkies are dead because they are disgusting, low-quality pseudofood. They taste like wet sponges filled with Vaseline. On a scale of dreadful to delicious, Twinkies rank right up there with Vienna sausages and potato sticks.

Yes, we all loved Twinkies when we were kids, but we also thought lead-based paint, Play-Doh, and boogers were pretty tasty. How sophisticated could our palates have been back then? Anyone who has eaten a Twinkie past the age of 25 should: a) reevaluate their snacking habits, and b) realize that, in a word, Twinkies are gross.

My kids have eaten Twinkies only once in their lives, and they didn't like them. They would much rather eat a freshly baked doughnut or a piece of actual cake. This is probably why Twinkies are dying to begin with: Americans are no longer satisfied with the bland TV dinners and prepackaged foods of years past. We can now get cheap, semi-healthy food at any fast food restaurant or grocery store.

Unfortunately for many busy families, this cheap, semi-healthy food has become a regular substitute for healthy, homemade food. Like most things, moderation is key.

So when it comes to the Twinkie, I certainly won't be shedding any tears. Taking Twinkies off the shelves means one fewer unhealthy food choice at the grocery store.

R.I.P., Twinkie the Kid. You will not be missed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Don't Lose Sleep Over New Co-Sleeping Study

A new study has found that women who co-sleep with their babies are possibly more prone to stress than those who don't.

I co-slept with both of my kids, and I could not disagree more.

According to a Fox News article, "Breastfeeding and co-sleeping with baby affects mom's welfare," the study followed 195 women in a Chicago suburb for six months after they gave birth. The study showed that mothers who slept with their babies had "less-than-optimal daily rhythms" of the stress hormone cortisol. Those who had the best rhythms were moms who breastfed and then did not share a bed with their baby.

Apparently, an "optimal rhythm" of cortisol is one in which the levels are high in the morning and then decline in the evening. The study showed that women who co-slept with their babies had less of a decline of cortisol throughout the day.

This study is bogus on many levels:
  1. Researchers only tested 195 women. That's hardly an adequate sampling of the overall population.
  2. They only tested women from a single Chicago suburb. Who's to say new moms in other areas of the country would have similar results?
  3. There is no evidence of a correlation between the cortisol levels and the co-sleeping. Maybe these women were stressed to begin with. Maybe they were poor, single moms. Maybe their pregnancies were unexpected and/or unwanted. Maybe they had other children to deal with or stressful jobs. Who knows? 
Photo courtesy Marta Dehnel, stock.xchng

All I know is that co-sleeping was the best thing that could have happened to me as a new mom. My daughter would NOT sleep unless she was physically touching me. I tried the whole "cry it out" thing, and after hours of nonstop crying (both my daughter and me), I decided that there had to be a better way. You want to talk about stress, try standing outside the bedroom door while your infant daughter is alone in her crib screaming herself hoarse.

She ended up sleeping with me almost every night until she was about 6 years old. I still occasionally sleep in her bed if she's feeling particularly needy.

My son, on the other hand, slept with me for less than a year. He didn't need as much physical contact, so he was in a "big boy bed" in no time.

As for the relationship between SIDS and co-sleeping, this article by Dr. Sears says that worldwide research has shown that the SIDS rate is lowest in countries where babies typically sleep with their parents. The vast majority of deaths from co-sleeping result from parents who smoke, who are obese, or who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The bottom line is that co-sleeping works for many families, and a single study should not discourage a mom from listening to the needs of her infant. You know your child best. Follow your instincts, and do what comes naturally. It's the best way for everyone to get a good night's sleep.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family Game Night a Great Way to Unplug

My husband made the greatest purchase of our lives last weekend when he found this Pokemon Monopoly game at a garage sale for a dollar.

Did you catch that? It's a Monopoly game about POKEMON!! And my kids are only ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED with Pokemon!

So for the past two nights, we have shut down the computers, walked away from the iPods and cell phones, and turned off the video games in order to play this game. We look just like those smiling families on the Hasbro Family Game Night commercials.

Artist's rendering our our Family Game Night experience

Pokemon Monopoly is a lot like the classic Monopoly game, except the little metal tokens are Pokemon characters (I'm Charmander).

You play with Pokedollars instead of money, you catch Pokemon instead of buying properties, and you purchase Pokemon Centers instead of houses. You can still go to jail, though, and you still have Free Parking (whatever the heck that is).

We have been having so much fun that I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Like many families, we get caught up in our electronic worlds. Too many times, I've looked up from my laptop to see every member of my family glued to a screen somewhere. It's like we're all in the same room, but we live in different worlds. It disturbs me.

I'm the first to admit that it is extremely difficult for me to walk away from my computer. Between blogging (which I love), working (which I hate), and aimless surfing (which leeches my time like a parasite), I am constantly being pulled toward my laptop.

Family Game Night was a conscious decision to "unplug" for the sake of my kids. I am thinking of implementing a regular game night each week in which all electronics are turned off, and the family is turned some good old-fashioned fun.

A look through my hall closet revealed that we actually have a collection of different Monopoly Games from over the years: Star Wars Monopoly, The Simpsons Monopoly, and Electronic Banking Monopoly. Maybe we'll start a Monopoly Month, followed by Word Games Weeks (with Scrabble and Boggle), and maybe a fun action game such as Jenga.


The possibilities are endless, and it doesn't really matter what you play. The key is to make an effort to unplug from the gadgets and plug in to the family. Feel free to share your experiences.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just Call Me the Sugar Nazi

My daughter had a friend sleep over the other night. I'm not a big fan of sleepovers, so we don't do them very often. But this girl is one of my favorites of Sally's friends. We'll call her Peggy. She's a nice girl, low maintenance, no drama. It's hard to find those qualities in a 10-year-old girl nowadays.

Peggy brought a large bag of leftover Halloween candy with her. We were going to the movies, so her mom let her bring the candy to take with us. She also proceeded to eat a great deal of the candy, both before and after the movie. Then the following morning, she drank chocolate milk with breakfast and started back in on the Halloween candy by 10:00 a.m.

As a result, Sally wanted to eat just as much candy as her friend. I tried to be cool about it, but anyone who knows me knows I have "issues" with sugar.

You see, we as Americans eat too much sugar. It's as simple as that. So I try to limit the amount of sugar my kids consume on a daily basis. This is much easier said than done because sugar lurks in EVERYTHING they eat and drink!

I tried to explain this to Sally the other day. She had eaten two of those Nature Valley Oats and Dark Chocolate granola bars for breakfast. (Yes, I know it's chocolate for breakfast. I regretted it as soon as I let her have it.) They have 12 grams of sugar, which is the same amount that's in some breakfast cereals. The problem was that she was still hungry and wanted to eat two of the peanut butter granola bars, too. Those have 11 grams of sugar.

So I broke it down and did the math. If she ate the extra granola bars, she would have consumed 23 grams of sugar, which is more sugar than two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! And it was only 9:00 in the morning!

When I pointed this out to Sally, she seemed to understand, and she agreed to eat some cashews instead. But a normal mom without a sugar obsession might not think twice about giving her child a couple of extra granola bars. This is why we have so many overweight, unhealthy kids.

I did some research, and the American Heart Association recommends that preschoolers consume about 4 teaspoons (16 grams) of sugar per day, children 4-8 should eat around 3 teaspoons (12 grams) per day, and preteens and teens can consume 5-8 teaspoons per day. So my daughter just about met her quota for the day on the first granola bars alone.

I often feel as if I'm fighting a losing battle. Sugar is everywhere! Our children are programmed to seek it out, and adults are programmed to give it to them. My mother is an expert at justifying giving my kids junk food.

She'll say things like, "Look, this pudding has calcium in it," or "At least frozen yogurt is healthy."

Sometimes I just need to lighten up and let my kids eat sweets, but someone has to be the voice of reason in this greedy, excess-driven world. I hope I'm not giving them eating disorders by making such a big deal about their sugar intake, but at the same time I don't want obese, cavity-infested kids, either. I suppose there's a balance to be struck.

As we finally say goodbye to the Halloween candy, we can now look forward to the gluttony of Thanksgiving and the greed of Christmas. Happy holidays!


Monday, November 12, 2012

When Another Adult Disciplines Your Child

My 8-year-old son had an eye doctor's appointment today. He wears glasses, and he has not been able to see as well as he should, so I took him in to get a new prescription for some new glasses.

We saw a new doctor that we hadn't seen before. He seemed nice enough, but when the doctor put that refractor machine over M's face (the one with all the lenses that looks like a pair of space-aged binoculars), things got a bit wonky.

In case you're new here, M has mild Asperger's Syndrome as well as some sensory processing issues. He is a sensory seeker, meaning he is constantly feeling, touching, tasting, and squirming. He can't help himself. It's a compulsion for him to touch things. So when the doctor pushed that giant metal mask up against his face, his first instinct was to bring his wiggly fingers up for a quick touchy-feely.

The doctor told him a couple of times not to touch, but M just couldn't help himself. (When I asked him about it later, he told me he didn't even know he was touching it.) So finally the doctor had enough. He brought out the big guns: a booming voice that actually scared both M and me.

"I do NOT want you to touch this," he said with such authority that my insides went cold. "It is very expensive to have this equipment cleaned, so you will NOT touch it again."

M just said very quietly, "OK," and he put his hands under his legs so that he wouldn't forget.

After that, the doctor became quite friendly. He immediately changed the tone of his voice, and he was both polite and encouraging throughout the rest of the exam. I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut at the time, but now I'm wondering if I should have said something to the doc.

When we left the office, I asked M if the doctor had scared him or hurt his feelings, and he said no. Apparently, the incident didn't phase him at all. It did, however, phase me.

I can't stop thinking about it: Should I have said something to the doctor? Should I have stuck up for M and told the doc not to yell at my child? Should I have explained that M has sensory issues and can't help having feely fingers?

Or did the doc do the right thing? M should have listened and not touched the equipment. But when I asked him about it later, he said he didn't even remember doing it. What's the right course of action here?

I went to bat for M this summer when his principal put him in the 3rd grade class with the meanest teacher in the school. I had heard that a child actually wet her pants in this teacher's class because she was afraid to ask to use the bathroom. I told the principal that we don't yell at our kids at home, and we will not tolerate our child being yelled at in school. I won that battle, and M now has the kindest, sweetest teacher I could ask for.

Should I have gone to bat for him today?

This issue concerns me on several levels. On one hand, M's personality (and anyone with an Aspie would probably agree) makes him a bit annoying sometimes. He tends to stand too close, talk too loud, and wiggle too much. It gets on people's nerves.

On the other hand, his personality also makes him oblivious to the fact that he annoys people! He has no idea why his grandmother doesn't want him to "eat" her hair or why his friends back away when he starts touching their faces. And today, he didn't bat an eyelash when the doctor raised his voice and reprimanded in a very firm manner. So in a way, it's a blessing that he is so unaware of how others view him.

I guess I did the right thing by keeping my mouth shut at the doctor's office. As long as it didn't upset M, I'm OK with it. I just don't want to find out that a teacher has been yelling at him or another student has been bullying him, and he doesn't even realize it. I suppose that's a bridge we will cross when we come to it.

It's a tricky business to stick up for your kids. Mine are getting to the age where they need to start standing up for themselves. I can only hope that when the time comes, M will know what to do.