Big Kid Young Kids

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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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    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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    Times they are a changin' in the Duggar household. Jill Duggar married Derick Dillard and got pregnant right away. Now Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald are engaged and on the fast track to the altar. It's a period of transition for the family ... and the younger Duggar kids are trying to adjust.

    Change is difficult for everyone ... but kids are especially vulnerable to feeling abandoned, worried, or scared because they don't know how to process it all. Michelle Duggar says daughter Jordyn, 5, is having an especially rough time with all of the new Duggar developments. She burst into tears one day when Jessa left with her fiance's family.

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    My children used to earn allowances. The 8-year-old got $2 per week, and my 6-year-old got a dollar. For a while the biggest challenge was finding the cash (this is the same problem we always face when the Tooth Fairy's presence is required), then I found myself wondering why I was just blindly handing out money each week when the recipients weren't exactly holding up their end of the deal.

    I don't do allowances anymore. This may change in the future, but here's what I ended up thinking: my kids shouldn't get paid for helping out around the house. Especially if they're continually doing a crappy job at it.

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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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    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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    Recently I met a 3-year-old who said, "It's nice to meet you, Ms. Dutton." I was floored -- my 4-year-old typically greets strangers with a stony silence and a suspicious stare. Still, what jarred me most about this kid's behavior was not just the level of courtesy, but how she addressed me as "Ms." followed by my last name

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    It's been two years since Katie Holmes divorced Tom Cruise, and the now single mom to Suri has been rockin' both her career and motherhood ever since. But it turns out that her cool demeanor and easy-going parenting weren't always the case. In an interview with Dujour magazine, Holmes admits that she was a nervous mom when Suri was first born.

    Sure, she may now be a multitasking working mom, but when she first gave birth to her daughter, she refused to leave her side:

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    Where have all the pen pals gone? Back in the day, we all had 'em. We'd procrastinate when it came to writing essays for school, yet we'd happily pen six-page tomes to our pen pals and wax poetic about our 12-year-old lives (my mom is soooo mean for not letting me go to concerts!). We would wait impatiently until we received that foreign-looking envelope in our mailboxes -- the one that was practically bathing in exotic-looking stamps.

    The benefits of corresponding with someone whom we'd ordinarily never have gotten a chance to meet in real life are numerous -- but letter-writing is a dying art.

    That is, unless you're Julie Paris -- a British mom who lets her 8-year-old daughter write to and receive letters from prisoners who are serving time for murder.

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    When they're young, it's fun for siblings to share a bedroom. The pillow fights! The shadow puppet shows! Only if those siblings are boy and girl, many parents agree that this innocent arrangement can't continue indefinitely. How soon opposite-sex siblings need separate bedrooms is a question that sparks heated debate among parents, with some claiming, "Hey, I shared a room with my brothers and sisters until college and I didn't mind one bit!" Still, if you're a parent who does wonder how early the awkwardness can ensue, here's an expert's assessment.

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