Big Kid

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    Back to school means back to rifling through your kids' backpacks for crumpled up permission slips. They're usually no-brainers. Just sign, zip them back up in the bag, and call it a day. Easy peasy. The hardest thing about them is making them look presentable again.

    But what if you received a permission slip asking you to sign off on the possibility of your child's untimely death or serious injury? A mom was faced with that dilemma when she got the craziest permission slip you have ever seen. Check it out:

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    June Cleaver. Carol Brady. Marge Simpson. The list of TV moms we all wish were our own is long and varied. And since Parenthood debuted on NBC, it's grown to include Kristina Braverman, mother of three, breast cancer survivor, and the type of candidate for city mayor who will stop everything during a town hall meeting to pass her phone number to a mom in crisis. Kristina Braverman is the mom we want and the mom we want to be, and without actress Monica Potter, there is no Kristina Braverman.

    Like her character, Monica is a mother of three. And like her character, the soft-spoken actress shines on the homefront -- she even has a growing line of home products -- in a way that lifts other moms up rather than making us feel inadequate.

    Parenthood fans who are bemoaning NBC's decision to give us just one more season, and a shortened one at that, have heart: Kristina Braverman is alive and well and living in California. 

    Proof?

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    It's a scientific fact that kids leave chaos in their wake -- so convincing kids to clean their rooms may seem like a futile battle. Yet believe it or not, there are ways to teach your young'uns to pick up that jumble of toys, clothes, and other unidentified objects without having to constantly hound them or do it yourself.

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    My kids love art. I mean most kids love the opportunity to be creative, express their imagination, and make a mess. Which is why this recipe to make your own finger paint will not only be a fun activity to do with your kids, but it will also save you money.

    This finger paint recipe comes from the Home & Family Show, which airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on the Hallmark Channel.

    So, here's how it's done:

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    Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie tapped into their Mr. & Mrs. Smith roots and pulled off the impossible: Brangelina got married under the celeb radar and gave their kids starring roles.

    Bravo!

    After nine years together, a two-year engagement, and six kids ... it was definitely time to make it official. Brad and Angelina's unconventional journey to the altar probably made the ceremony even sweeter because they were surrounded by their beloved children.

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    When I reached out to a photographer friend to book our family portrait, I had just one request. We needed to schedule an appointment for sometime before the babysitter leaves for college. We didn't need our babysitter to occupy our child or encourage her to smile with funny faces. As a family portrait photographer myself, I've seen it happen, but our daughter is 9 and quite capable of following directions. Instead, we were booking a pre-college shoot because our babysitter needed to be in our family portrait.

    In as in standing in line with my husband, my daughter, and me, smiling at the birdie.

    He made it happen, and the photos are everything I wanted them to be. But as soon as I uploaded them to Facebook, the comments flooded in.

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    Once your little one has reached school-age, it officially means that you're no longer there to supervise every interaction with classmates or can chaperone them at each point in the day. That's a nightmare in its own way. And if you agonize over schoolyard bullies, it's about to get even worse. Because news flash, parents, the jerk on the playground isn't the only one you need to be worried about. Turns out, bullying, especially of overweight children, starts before kids even begin school.

    According to a new study, published in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics, the idea that bullying is a school-age experience has been completely busted. In fact, in a sample of 1,327 children, where the average age was 6, the study authors discovered that obesity not only made a child more likely to be bullied, but also to be a bully themselves.

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    It hits you like a freight train. An awful smell that seems to be coming from the general direction of your child. Welcome to the next phase of growing up: developing body odor. You're about to go from buying bubble bath to buying deodorant for your child, and it all happens in the blink of an eye. 

    So is your kid normal? Can they possibly be ready for deodorant when they just learned to tie their shoes yesterday (or so it seems)?

    Well ... yes!

    Typically, body odor can begin to develop as early as 7 years old in girls, 9 years old in boys, as the body hits puberty. Suddenly, your child is beginning to sweat more and sweat specifically from what are called the "apocrine sweat glands," glands in the armpit and groin region.

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  • Mom Moment

    Without My Kids, I'm a Mess

    posted by Amy Oztan Tuesday at 8:41 AM in Big Kid
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    My kids just got back from sleep-away camp. I have no problem with them being gone, I don’t get weepy, and I definitely don’t have a problem knowing what to do with myself while they aren’t here. I know they’re having a great time, and I love having the break.

    However, my house and my schedule seem to have a huge problem with them not being here.

    Without my kids, apparently, the structure of my day goes into free fall and I live like a frat boy in the last month of his senior year.

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    When I was a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with Bill Cosby's Himself album. I had the LP and I'd play it over and over, laughing like a loon each and every time. Years later when I worked in a video shop, I'd put the VHS version on the monitors scattered throughout the store and watch as customers would cluster around a TV and snicker at Cosby's dramatic reenactment of his and his wife's Lamaze breathing: "Zup wuff snuff whoosh, push, push."

    I listened to that stand-up routine so much I can still recite entire bits word for word, but it's only now that I have children that I truly realize the depth of his genius. Bill Cosby captured more parenting truths in that one album that anyone has ever published before or since, and I swear, not a day goes by that I don't find myself mired in some kid-related frustration and think to myself, Bill Cosby told me this would all happen ... 30 YEARS AGO.

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