I've written for publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, Wine Spectator, and Time Out NY Kids and websites including Babble, AOL/Huffington Post, BN Review, MSN, and Salon. My work has been anthologized in the book "Maybe Baby" and eBook "Welcome to My World" and honored with a MADD Media Award. My proudest accomplishments, however, are a son who says I look like a teenager and a daughter who draws princesses and labels them "Mommy."
Guess what -- good news! Los Angeles may soon do something about its daytime curfew and truancy laws, which can result in kids getting handcuffed by police, searched, and fined hundreds of dollars just for arriving at school a few minutes late. Who-hoo! ... I'm sorry, what?Kids are getting handcuffed and searched and fined hundreds of dollars -- money their families need to make rent and pay for food -- just because they're a few ticks behind schedule? What country are we living in again?
There are so many reasons not to like going to the dentist, so many things to fear: cavities, fillings, drills, root canals, bad-tasting pastes, those things you have to bite down on for X-rays (really hate those), even the look of disapproval on the dental assistant's face when you admit you may not floss every day. But now there's something new to fear: Legionnaires' disease.Yup, the death of an 82-year-old Italian woman who had been infected by Legionnaires' disease -- which people get from breathing in bacteria-infected particles of standing water and which causes symptoms that are sort of like a severe case of pneumonia -- was traced to the water line in her dentist's office. And it turns out that dental water lines are a known potential source for Legionella bacteria, which can cause Legionnaires' disease.
If I told you that pollution is bad for your health, would you be surprised? Yeah, didn't think so. Yet two new studies underscore that even levels of regular old everyday pollution previously considered totally safe, from a health perspective, can, in fact, increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. If the results of the study are confirmed, experts say it may change the way public-health officials respond to pollution, inspiring stricter standards and tougher regulations. It could also change the advice doctors give to people with cardiovascular disease and lung problems, prompting them to suggest they be more careful and take greater care even on days when smog had not previously been considered at levels that could cause difficulty.
One of my clearest memories from the first year of my son's life is the day I put a bottle of my just-pumped breast milk down on the kitchen counter, and then reached for something (the cap, maybe?) and promptly knocked it over, spilling ounces of the "liquid gold" I'd worked so hard to produce. I cried. And then I cried some more. And then I didn't stop crying until my husband came along and said maybe it really was time to start supplementing my breast milk with formula. My son was a constant and voracious nurser, pretty much perpetually at the breast, who rapidly went from barely on the weight charts to the top of them in what felt like no time flat. My milk supply, which later proved more than adequate for his younger sister, struggled to keep up with his demand. But, having read and heard all about the benefits of breastfeeding, I was determined to keep him on breast milk for as long as possible. Formula (even if only one supplementary bottle a day) felt like failure.
We've barely worn our hats and gloves, let alone our puffy down coats. We're saving money by turning down the thermostats, enjoying long walks in the unseasonable warmth with our families, basking in the unexpectedly balmy temperatures. Our snow shovels and giant bags of salt and sand stand at the ready, but have been sadly neglected. All of these are wonderful, welcome effects of this year's unusually mild winter.
Personally, I've been thrilled not to be freezing my you-know-what off out there, shoveling snow off my walk and digging out my car. (Remember last year's endless blizzards?) And I've even managed to escape (so far, at least) catching my usual winter cold. But from a health perspective, there's actually a downside to all of those remarkably unfrosty winter days: Allergies.(Sniff-sniff!)