Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
I love life! My family has been blessed with good health and financial stability. But I don’t take either of these things for granted. In my youth, my family went through a few particularly difficult times that taught me early about the fragility of life.
It was thanks in large part to support from family, friends, and even strangers that my parents made it through these times. We were blessed that when my little sister needed open-heart surgery at age two we had a state of the art hospital and an amazing surgeon within a short drive.
Illness doesn’t discriminate. Disease can strike whether you’re rich or poor, old or young. Illness is no respecter of where you live either. It would be nice if we could all conveniently have state of the art treatment facilities and hospitals near us, but that simply isn’t the case.
It is because of this the American Cancer Society has created “Finish the Fight”, a program that allows you to help cancer patients in need.
Watch the video to see what you can do to help.
Before I donate money to an organization or cause I ask myself, “If I were in this situation what would I hope others would do/give?” $10 is an amount that many of us can afford to give.
If you are ready to partner with the American Cancer Society to provide lodging so cancer patience can receive treatment simply follow the directions at the end of the video above.
Well folks, this is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a long while, but I haven’t really found the right moment to include the topic on my blog. Well, due to some recent “news”, I think that now is the right moment. Due to the length of my rantings I’m going to divide this post into two parts. The second part will be posted on Thursday.
Recently there was a study published that has sparked debate and heated comments from moms all over the social network and blogsphere. You’ve probably heard of the study that concluded that in America there is a bias that breastfeeding mothers are viewed as less intelligent. Before I delve into the real reason for this post (which I will discuss on Thursday) I’d like to provide a little perspective on the bias of the study itself and the poor research methodologies that were practiced. I’m not a pro at research, but let me just point out a few things I noticed when I read through the article (yes, I read the actual article, not just a blog post about it).
- The researchers set out to test their hypothesis that breastfeeding mothers were seen as less competent than their bottle feeding counterparts. The study was also seeking to replicate the results of a previous study that came to the same conclusion. It is not uncommon in research to seek to replicate results, but you’ll see why, in the next two points this becomes a big deal.
- The participants in the study were college students with a mean (average) age of 19! None the participants had ever had a child. The population sampled can certainly not be said to be representative of America as a whole!
- The participants were given a pamphlet about actress Brooke Shields. Some read that she was planning on releasing a book wherein she talked about her breastfeeding experience. Some read that she wrote about her bottlefeeding experience. Researchers selected Brooke Shields “with the assumption that she is an admired and liked role model” ….umm…excuse me. There are plenty of more well-known, well-liked, and better role models to choose from. Brooke Shields, may very well be a wonderful mother, but that is not what she is known for. Brooke Shields is one of the most recognizable sex symbols in Hollywood! She is most well known for her sexuality (ever heard of the Blue Lagoon) and that sexuality is, of course, associated with her breasts. And you might say that her breasts are part of her business, her very lucrative business. Do you believe the average 19 year old is going to think that Brooke Shields using her most valuable assets to nurse a child is the most competent decision? You can’t tell me that this wasn’t a veiled attempt to create a bias.
I could go on, but it is fairly plain that this article is not the product of good research practices. So, if you’re a breastfeeding mom please find comfort in the fact that, just because this poorly constructed research study says that people find you less competent, it is simply not the case. Perhaps they would have been better off doing a study on the competency of their study.
Before becoming a stay at home mom I worked as a therapist doing early intervention therapy for kids with autism. It was wonderfully challenging and rewarding. One of the things I was told all the time by the parents was to be very wary of vaccinating my children because of the link between vaccines and autism. I consider myself and informed consumer and before vaccinating my children I did my research. Though I choose not to vaccinate my children according to the advised schedule (I just go a little slower than perscribed) I concluded that there was not sufficient scientific evidence to support the claim of vaccines causing autism. Sometimes I felt like I was betraying the belief that some of the families I worked with held with conviction. However, tonight I was reading an article that I hope will put parents fears to rest.
“The initial study linking vaccines and autism, which caused international confusion about whether or not to immunize kids, has been exposed as fraudulent. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) released an editorial saying there’s proof that the famous study included false, intentionally fabricated information.”
I was absolutely astounded when I read the article! The initial study–the one that has recently been exposed as fabricated–has been frighteningly successful at decreasing the rates of vaccination.
What do you think? How does this affect your view of vaccines?
Ahh, yes, the holidays! These are wonderful times when your children have mounds of sweet, sugary things at their fingertips. These are wonderful times filled with the merry laughter of children and the constant sounds of little feet running all through the house all courtesy of…sugar overload???
It’s a wonderful statement that I hear time and again by parents: “the kids are out-of-control, on a sugar-high.” And I’m sure you’ve heard, or maybe even said, to your kids: “Sorry, Honey, too much candy will just make you hyper.”
While too much sugar and candy is certainly not good for anyone, the idea that sugar will make one hyper is a very persistent myth. There have been numerous scholarly articles published with many thousands of hours of research involving tens of thousands of participants that conclude that, amazingly enough, there is no link between sugar and hyperactivity.
Why the persistent misconception?
I know many moms who, even after reading the research, will insist that the anecdotal evidence from their own children would prove the contrary. Well, you might be entertained (I was) to know that researchers have found that parents who believe and expect that the sugar their child has ingested will make him or her hyperactive are more likely to perceive that child’s behavior as being hyperactive–whether it is or not. The parents are primed to expect adverse behavior, react stronger than usual when they do see it, and thus elicit more adverse behavior from the child. Some call it the “expectancy effect”. Another reason for this mistaken correlation may be to the fact that excited states in children often occur at events such as birthday parties, holidays, and other festive events where large sugar intake is likely.
So, when your child starts bouncing off the walls this holiday season look for the true cause behind the cacophonous chaos. Perhaps they need a nap or maybe just some free time out of doors to exercise all their child-like excitement about the wonderful time they are having.
This caught my eye because Little Brother has been teething constantly for the past 3 months. Quite a few people I recommended I give these to him, but I just never got around to it…thankfully. “The FDA notified consumers that Hyland’s Teething Tablets is being recalled because the tablets may pose a risk to children. The tablets are manufactured to contain a small amount of belladonna, a substance that can cause serious harm at larger doses. For such a product, it is important that the amount of belladonna be carefully controlled. FDA laboratory analysis has found that Hyland’s Teething Tablets contain inconsistent amounts of belladonna.FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity. The FDA has also received reports of children who consumed more tablets than recommended, because the containers do not have child resistant caps.”
The FDA recommends that if you have Hylands teething tablets to discontinue use and throw the rest away. The FDA also recommends that if you notice the symptoms of belladonna toxicity including: seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using Hyland’s Teething Tablets to contact a health care professional and report the side effects to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
For more information visit: FDA Safety MedWatch
Now, I know that some people, upon learning that a parent is teaching their baby to sign, roll their eyes and conjure an image of a baby development zealot frantically showing their child flash cards of black and white images and making signings for every word imaginable while Mozart plays in the background (think Kari from The Incredibles).
Well, if you are a parent who has ever taught a baby to sign, or if you’ve ever seen a baby interact through signs, you know that teaching a baby to sign is not simply the work of parental zealots who think they can see every new synapse that forms in their child’s brain. There are actual, observed benefits of teaching hearing babies to sign.
Here are some of the probable benefits of teaching infants to sign as documented by Drs. Acredolo and Goodwyn:
- reduces frustration
- allows infants and toddlers to express both emotions (e.g., happy, sad, afraid,mad) and feelings (e.g., sleepy, cold, hurt), both to label their own states, and to comment on the states of other children, showing early evidence of empathy.
- increases “active” learning.
- encourages babies as early as 9 months to engage in multi-utterance conversations
Because infants have the understanding of language and motor skills necessary to communicate through sign far earlier than most children have the developmental capacity to vocalize words many can begin signing at between 6 and 10 months. If a child can express what they want or need through signing there will be far fewer tears and less frustration for parent and child.
Some parents worry that teaching their children to sign will delay their verbal development. In fact, the opposite is true. Recent research shows that introduction to sign in infancy may actually improve language and vocabulary.
Babies are gaining significant language knowledge as they learn to sign that will give them a boost when they begin speaking.
Many parents and practitioners have also found signing to be effective for children with autism, down syndrome, speech delays, and non-verbal learning disorder.
Here are some great links for more information:
Signing with your baby or toddler babycenter.com
Michigan State University American Sign Language Browser
Search baby signing or baby sign language on YouTube. Type in “baby signing time” for lots of cute signing videos for toddlers.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Comission has issued recalls for millions of products including high chairs, trikes, and baby toys. The recalls are being issued due to possible lacerations, choking, and other injuries.
For information on which high chairs are involved visit:
For information on the recalled trikes visit:
For information on the recalled baby toys visit:
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*Before I delve into the my post I need to make a little disclaimer. I received my bachelors degree in the human development and family sciences field. My husband is currently working on his Ph.D. in a psychology field. I love research–not the number crunching part–and would be content to sit all day reading newly published psychology-related research articles. (Don’t tell my husband. He might think I’m a little off my rocker. He hates research.) So if you’re not so much into the workings of the human mind or the complex dynamics of human relationships bear with me. If you are, enjoy!*
According to research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association some of that sibling rivalry parents dread so much can actually greatly benefit siblings–well, the younger sibling at least. Research found that while older children (of sibling pairs) scored higher on aptitude tests, the younger children often had higher grade point averages.
90 sibling pairs were given questionnaires about themselves and their brother or sister’s intelligence, work ethic, and academic performance. The researchers then collected test scores and grade point averages. Researchers found that younger siblings seek to outperform their older siblings by putting in extra effort in order to gain more attention from their parents. Interestingly, both firstborns and their younger siblings viewed themselves as the more naturally gifted teenager of the two!
So now, let me ask. Looking back, does this describe you and your siblings? It certainly describes the academic “competition” between my brother and myself, though I was never under the illusion that I was the more naturally gifted one. My older brother is one of the smartest people I know. He set the standard for intelligence, and I worked very hard to live up to it.
I’d love to hear your comments and experiences on this subject.
To learn more about this study visit: CNNHealth