Big Kid

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    There are moments in life that strike like a stray bolt of lightning -- recklessly, dangerously, and leave your nerves singed, your heart shattered. When the smoke clears, you feel like curling up in the fetal position to grieve, to heal, to compose yourself ... but you choose to absorb the life-altering zap. As a mom, you instinctively know your child is counting on you to meet her gaze with hopeful eyes. Carrie Sorkin recently delivered in one of those moments ... when her beloved 8-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

    According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.

    Each year, more than 15,000 kids are diagnosed and that figure is on the rise. Three million people are living with the disease ... and there is no cure.

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    I know it’s a cliché, but I don’t know how else to say it. My kids are growing like weeds! I know everyone who has young kids is going through the same thing, but this back-to-school season makes it all too real -- and way too expensive!

    I’m not kidding, I can barely afford to keep my kids clothed. And once you add a fashionable tween to the mix, you’re adding a whole new element!

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    The other day I was putting dirty clothes in the washing machine when I noticed the box of dryer sheets had gone missing. Not the contents of the box, mind you, the sheets themselves were strewn all over the place nearby: piled haphazardly on the shelf where I keep the detergent and whatnot, scattered across the tops of the washer and dryer, and drifting gently around the floor.

    You've heard of the idiom the straw that broke the camel's back, right? The idea that cataclysmic failure is triggered by a seemingly inconsequential action? In terms of overall parental frustrations for the day, that stolen box of dryer sheets was definitely my final straw. It's always something dumb like that, something that in the grand scheme of things doesn't seem worth getting mad about. But that's the thing about having a breaking point … eventually, you break.

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    It's happened again. A month after a mom was arrested for daring to let her daughter play in a park near the McDonald's where she works, another mother has been slapped with a pair of metal bracelets for leaving her kids in a park to play. Only Ashley Richardson's story is especially heartbreaking.

    According to cops, the mother of four kids ages 6 through 8 was at the food bank picking up something for her family to eat while her kids played. While she was gone, her 8-year-old tried using a toddler swing and got tangled up, which prompted a call to the fire department. When Mom returned, cops arrested her.

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    With all the hoopla about parents being arrested for dropping their kids off at parks to fend for themselves, parents may be wondering at what age it's safe to leave kids alone in other circumstances -- for instance, at home. Moms may be wondering this because sooner or later they face a scenario where they need to just run out and grab a gallon of milk, and babysitters won't pop by for a half hour, and Junior's in the middle of his math homework. Yet moms may be understandably worried whether their kids are old enough to not open the door to strangers, call if any problems arise, and all in all responsibly handle whatever might come their way.

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    Finally, your kids are sleeping through the night. They're even going to bed at a reasonable hour and staying there too! And then it happens. Your child wakes up crying out loud and grabbing their legs. Growing pains: they're not just an '80s TV sitcom. And contrary to popular opinion, they have nothing to do with growth spurts.

    "The term 'growing pain' is a bit of a misnomer," says pediatrician Dr. Carol Wilkinson, medical director of Kinsights, an advice sharing network for parents. "Studies have shown that they are not associated with periods of rapid growth."

    Instead, these aches in the muscles can simply be signs that your child's muscles are sore from playing hard on the playground or something deeper -- a stress or big social change that can lower their pain tolerance and make it hard to sleep.

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    Sooner or later even the sweetest kid turns to ice: "How was school?" Silence. "Can you help me clear the table?" More dead air. Many parents would take a knock-down, screaming fight any day compared to a kid who ignores what mom says. Yet while this misbehavior can be infuriating, parents often react in ways that just makes things worse. So try avoiding these common mistakes, and try these alternatives to help you break through the stony silence.

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    A woman on the subway in NYC witnessed a man beating his child. It was Saturday July 26th around 3:30 p.m. on a northbound L train in Brooklyn. Which probably meant there were many people on that same train seeing this happen. This woman spoke up and reportedly said, "Please don't hit your child." The father was said to have responded, "Shut the f**k up, we will hit our child if we want to."

    The woman, and her friend who was with her, both told police that the father continued to beat his child, hitting the young girl hard in the chest. The woman then told the father that she was going to report him to police, and then she got up to move away from the incident. That's when he followed her.

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    Some parents got quite a shock recently when they went to get the mail. You know how sometimes companies have promotions and give you free stuff when you spend a certain amount of money? Well Land's End recently participating in something of that sort, by sending a free magazine to some customers who spent over $100.

    That was nice of them! Except, it sort of pissed a lot of parents off, since the magazine in question was GQ, and the cover model is topless. And basically mostly naked, save for some skimpy bikini bottoms. And a lot of those parents got the mag after ordering school uniforms -- many of them for religiously affiliated schools. Whoops.

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    Our greatest hope as parents is that, when our children leave us each morning to go to school, they are surrounded by qualified, caring individuals who treat them as if they are their own. Or, at the very LEAST, treat them as humans.

    Unfortunately, neither one of those things happened at one school in Brooklyn recently, when a public school employee was charged with felony assault for allegedly punching an 11-year-old autistic boy after he spilled water on the cafeteria floor.

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