Big Kid Young Kids

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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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    Have you seen the "No-Bullshit, No-Drama Friendship Manifesto" that's been shared all over Facebook? It's from a blog post published on Renegade Mothering, and I've seen it linked over and over from moms who are like, "THIS." Or "YES." Or "THIS. YES."

    The no-BS friendship manifesto has some great stuff in it that I fully identify with. Like when she says "When you swear in front of my kids I won’t care. Because obviously." Or "Maybe your house is clean. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe who gives a rat’s ass?"

    But the stuff about giving our fellow moms a free pass on being complete and utter flakes? Dude. No. No, no, no, no. Being a parent doesn't mean we should treat our friends like they aren't important to us.

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    My dread for September starts in early August, right around when the back-to-school ads start cropping up. It's not just that I'm already mourning the near end of summer, it's that I'm loathing the madness of getting the kids geared up. 

    The trouble, I've realized, is that I'm typically in denial right up to bedtime on the Monday of Labor Day. And then, reality (and panic) hits. OMG, school! OMG, forms! OMG, supplies, clothes, backpacks! This year, though, I'm trying some new strategies to spare myself the back-to-school stress.

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    After a long summer of vacations, sun, and time at home, it's finally that time of year: back to school. Now before you start weeping that your little baby is off to big kid school, there is a real big perk here for you, moms. Nine West is offering its First Day of Kindergarten collection, a selection of shoes that mom can buy to comfort herself when the student leaves home.

    An excuse to buy shoes? Yes, please! Just look at these babies:

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    Well, guys. Apparently, we have a new star on our hands. Five-year-old Noah Ritter attended the Wayne County Fair recently in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and "apparently" managed to steal the show with his appearance as the newest -- and cutest -- TV reporter in the country.

    And if you can really believe it, he has never been on live television before. Yeah, we don't buy that either. Noah, you seem like a seasoned professional to us. Take a look at the little guy's first dabble in on-air reporting. He's a natural:

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