Big Kid

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    There are a few defining moments in motherhood: your baby's first steps, your baby's first words, your baby's first day of school.

    Oh yes, it's that time of year where millions of moms are sending their babies to school for the very first time and the rest of us are relishing in having time to take a long, hot bath in the middle of the day. Not that I do that. Much.

    For me, another defining moment was the day I dropped my baby off for preschool.

    I mean, sure, I felt teary-eyed that he was going off for THE LONGEST TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE without me there to guide him but the defining moment came in the afternoon. In the carpool line.

    It hit me.

    "I'm in the carpool line. This is a carpool. This is something that moms do and I'M DOING IT."

    I felt like I suddenly had this external validation that I was really a mom and that I must be doing something right if I had made it this far.

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    As parents, when you're considering making the jump from two kids to three, one specific thought will enter your mind: Middle Child Syndrome. You'll have your oldest and first, then you'll have your newborn, and your middle child will be placed in the dreaded in-betweener spot. But fear not, because as scary as the "middle child" label may be, they're far from being the "forgotten child."

    From their personality traits to their success later in life, birth order can play a big role in a child's development. And scientists have spent significant time looking at just what it means to be a middle child.

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  • OMG

    Why Carpooling Is Dangerous for Kids

    posted by Suzee Skwiot Yesterday at 1:10 PM in Big Kid
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    For any busy, multitasking parent (isn't that everyone, really?), carpools are a lifesaver. Trading off turns with neighbors or friends on who will be driving the kids to school each morning frees up some of your time and lets you peacefully get ready for the day. But the latest report, completed by Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation, may have you rethinking the rotation. Apparently, after surveying 1,000 parents, the researchers found that one in five parents who carpool admit to bending the rules while driving. 

    Some parents confessed they'd let kids ride without seatbelts or car seats. To make matters even scarier, there are also the bystanders' confessions.

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    Some parenting studies leave us confused with wishy washy results we have no idea what to do with, but this one is powerful. According to new research by Safe Kids Worldwide, 9 in 10 parents stop using a booster seat too early. What's equally troubling: 70 percent of parents surveyed didn't know the rules on when it's OK to let kids stop riding in safety seats.

    It turns out, children should be at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall or weigh between 80 and 100 pounds before they are allowed to ride without a booster seat. Did you know that?

    Moms, these findings demand our attention.

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    When I found out I'd given birth to a little girl, my first thought was that my husband would be thrilled to get "his girl." My second was one of relief: someone whose "parts" I get! I can do this!

    Indeed, it made those first few diaper changes easier. It's bound to make conversations about tampons and bras easier too (all in good time). But there's one area where I've struggled. What is my daughter supposed to call the female body parts that we share?

    I know the technical terms. Vagina. Vulva. And despite early hesitance to do so, I've taught them to my now 9-year-old daughter over the years.

    But at 9, she doesn't refer to her vagina or her vulva. Sometimes she says "crotch." Sometimes "cha cha." 

    Go ahead. Laugh. But it's her body. Is it so wrong for her to use silly euphemisms to describe parts of it?

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    I got frustrated with my Fitbit recently when it recorded a gut-busting hour-long cross-training workout as "three very active minutes." If the Fitbit people are taking feature requests, I'd like to see an update that allows you to carefully fine-tune its definition of very active by telling it to eat a bag of dicks.

    Anyway, this made me think how there are certain parenting activities that seem WAY more physically challenging than they actually are. Like if you bothered to enter them in a fitness/meal-tracking app, you'd probably learn that you burned the caloric equivalent of one slice of cucumber (no peel), but at the time, they feel as exhausting as running a marathon. Uphill. In the snow. Both ways.

    For instance:

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    It is so, so, SO hard to teach kids to tie their shoes. And between all the Velcro and slip-on styles out there today, many kids are mastering this milestone later than the usual 5 to 6 age range, says Keri Wilmot, a pediatric occupational therapist at ToyQueen.com. Yet while parents can put off teaching this skill, sooner or later, you've got to sit down with your kids and show them the ropes. Here's how.

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    We are obsessed with 5-year-old Noah Ritter, apparently. The charismatic cutie, otherwise known as the 'Apparently Kid,' became a viral sensation after an off-the-cuff TV interview about a fair ride. It has generated 15 million views and counting on YouTube. Now, the 'Apparently Kid' is starring in his first commercial.

    YouTube darling to paid commercial actor in one month or less. That's the American way!

    Noah's first spot for Freshpet pet food does not disappoint. He delivers his signature line 10 times and chats freely about everything from dogs to farts to dinosaurs. His commercial debut will manage to brighten up your Monday. Promise.

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    Public restrooms. Just the thought of them makes us uncomfortable. They're a wasteland for graffiti, caked on pee, poop splatter, overflowing tampons ... you get the idea. They're universally disgusting.

    What's even harder than trying to get out of a public restroom without the sudden urge for a shower? Managing a child -- or, even worse, several children -- in said public restroom. They're vestibules for germs and grime ... and kids just don't get it. They thrive in this nasty environment, singeing their mom's every nerve with ease.

    Who hasn't delivered the killer evil mom stink eye to their kids behind closed stalls? Who hasn't yelled, "Get back here right now or I am telling the (Elf on the Shelf/Mensch on a Bench)!" The crazy things moms say in public restrooms to rein kids in are comical.

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    There's a push-up competition between a little girl and a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) cadet. Who are you putting your money on?

    Do we even have to ask?

    Um, yes. Yes, we do ... after seeing Kaylyn Mintz, a gymnast and US Junior Olympic Team hopeful, crush a cadet in a push-up challenge in front of a cheering crowd. As a part of a "Stand at Attention" fundraiser at a mall in Wilmington, North Carolina, young cadets went up against shoppers in fitness challenges including planks and sit-ups ... but Kaylyn's push-ups stole the show. Hands down. 

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