Archive for the ‘ Must Read ’ Category

Rosie to the Rescue: Tighten Your Postbaby Belly and Raise Money for Breast Cancer

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Becoming a parent was the very first time I thought about my own mortality with any sort of meaning.  Having children made me want to live until I was incredibly old. It was also about this time that my husband and I lost two friends to cancer. I realized that even the healthiest of us can be struck down by cancers that seem inexplicable.  The powerlessness that comes with the fear of life-threatening disease can be overwhelming, especially when we stare into the eyes of our children and see all the things from kindergarten to college graduation and beyond that we want to be there for, by their side.

Over recent years I’ve wished that I could do something that would in some way help the many amazing organizations that help push for advancements in research, so that we get closer to finding the cures for the diseases that take our loved ones too soon.  This is why I am very proud to share with you my partnership with Belly Bandit.  In case you don’t know what this marvelous piece of equipment is for, it’s an ingenious way to tuck, tighten, and sculpt that post-partum belly.  Fear not: This is no medieval-corset torture device, but instead a carefully structured band that wraps around your tummy and helps you to engage those oh-so-important muscles that we need to bring our possibly loose and flabby midsections (I know mine was!) back to what we had prebaby, or dreamed of in past years!

The amazing team at Belly Bandit is, like myself, passionate about helping women look good and feel good.  This year we decided to go a little further and create an Organic Pink Belly Bandit that helps to support the Shades of Pink Foundation, while being green at the same time.  The organization’s mission:

“Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have extra financial burdens placed on them during treatment and recovery. Common issues are insurance payments, food, transportation, childcare, and other essentials of daily life. Shades of Pink Foundation offers temporary financial assistance during their time in need.”

 

For both the Belly Bandit team and me, this is a very personal project.  They would like to dedicate it to their beloved friend Suzanne Herman who lost her battle with breast cancer, and I would like to dedicate it to those still fighting.

 

So whether it’s our pink Belly Bandit or a charity walk, or a mammogram that you take part in, join us in taking a little control in the fight against breast cancer, and raise awareness for yourself, your family and your friends.

To purchase the Rosie Pope Pink Organic Belly Bandit:

http://www.bellybandit.com/store/p-115-organic-band.aspx

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Jenny McCarthy on The View: Anti-Vaccine Views Get a Platform

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

The following post is by Darshak Sanghavi, M.D., a contributing editor to Parents and author of A Map of the Child: A Pediatrician’s Tour of the BodyJenny McCarthy

Barbara Walters announced earlier this week that Jenny McCarthy will begin co-hosting The View this fall, taking one of the chairs vacated by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar.  Walters said in a statement that McCarthy “brings us intelligence as well as warmth” and “can be serious and outrageous.”

This decision has outraged many pediatricians and public health experts. For years, McCarthy has been one of the most public faces of the deadly anti-vaccine movement. The notion that vaccines cause autism has been discredited thoroughly. The British doctor who first proposed a link 15 years ago was found to engage in “callous disregard,” his article was retracted as erroneous by the journal that published it, and almost every author of the work has distanced themselves from it. However, the belief in a vaccine-autism link has survived with religious fervor ever since.

McCarthy isn’t the only Hollywood type to spout anti-vaccine nonsense (Chuck Norris and Rob Schneider have joined the bandwagon), but McCarthy even scorns reports of children dying of vaccine-preventable illnesses as a necessary price for her advocacy. “I do believe, sadly, it’s going to take some disease coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe,” she blithely told Jeffrey Kluger of Time in 2009. (Only a month earlier, 1-month-old Dana McCaffery had died of whooping cough in an area with low vaccination rates in Australia. Over the past few years, vaccine-preventable illnesses and deaths have been tracked by jennymccarthybodycount.com.)

As Discover magazine points out, McCarthy’s concern about vaccine-related danger to brain cells is ironic, given she has no problem with getting regular cosmetic injections with the most potent neurotoxin known to mankind.

A spokesperson for The View said McCarthy would be free to discuss her anti-vaccine views on air. But why does any of this matter? After all, what parent gets their medical advice from The View?

The truth is that, for better or worse, celebrities have the power to influence people. In 2000, after her husband died of colon cancer, Today show host Katie Couric underwent an on-air screening colonoscopy, and nationally for about a year, colonoscopy rates suddenly jumped by 50 percent. Pop singer Kylie Minogue’s diagnosis of breast cancer led to a 20 percent jump in mammograms in Australia. When storylines about genetic testing for breast cancer appeared in Grey’s Anatomy and ER in 2006, viewers’ knowledge increased. Like it or not, celebrities have powerful effects on people’s health behavior and beliefs.

Still, one might argue: What is the harm in having McCarthy discuss her vaccine beliefs on The View? After all, people can hear all sides of the so-called “controversy” and make up their own minds. But as social scientists point out, repeating a claim–even if one’s trying to debunk it–only increases its apparent truthfulness. In other words, even if someone says a claim is wrong, hearing it over and over again makes people think it’s true. (A similar example concerns the untrue rumor that President Barack Obama is Muslim. The more it’s denied, the more some people tend to believe it.) That is the danger of giving McCarthy a platform to repeat her anti-vaccine claims to 3 million television viewers. No matter what the other hosts may say, a sizeable number of viewers will question and refuse vaccination for their children as a result.

It’s too bad that among the many intelligent, sassy, and provocative women the ABC could have chosen, they hired someone whose work has the potential to endanger children’s health. So for now, I’ll just hope that McCarthy keeps her erroneous vaccine beliefs to herself.

Image: Jenny McCarthy, via Shutterstock

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Rosie to the Rescue: My Top 10 Apps for Pre-K Kids

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Rosie PopeIf you’re looking for a little portable entertainment for your child while traveling this summer or simply seeking a quiet activity out of the sun, I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite apps for kids ages four and up. Moderation is my motto when it comes to screen time. But let’s face it: Sometimes it can be nice to keep your little one occupied for a bit while you enjoy some much-needed downtime. (After all, I enjoy a little screen time just as much as my little ones do.)

It can feel impossible navigating your way through the endless sea of apps to find ones that are entertaining, educational, and suitable for your wee ones. Plus, those 99¢ apps add up, and, before you know it, you’ve spent a whole lot of money on not very much value. Here’s my round-up of favorite apps for preschool-age kids:

1. More Pie by Maverick Software allows little ones to make 30 varieties of pies with over 45 choices of toppings. If your child enjoys this app, check out the others in the series, such as the cupcake making or BBQ grilling app. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

2. Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers by Nickelodeon is great for building math skills like counting and number identification. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

3. The Little Engine That Could by Once Upon an App is a fun starter app for any little train lover. Your child can choose to read the book by himself, or have the app read the story aloud to him. $4 for iPad and iPhone

4. Pip and Posy: Fun and Games by Nosy Crow features cute English accents as your child plays matching games and completes jigsaw puzzles with lovable characters. $3 for iPad and iPhone

5. What Does Not Belong by Brain-Go LLC builds vocabulary and classification skills which are essential for preparing your child for kindergarten. $2 for iPad and iPhone

6. Little Fox Music Box by Fox and Sheep is a fantastic interactive music app available in multiple languages for kids with over 100 interactive elements and sounds. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and Android

7. Koi Pond HD Lite by The Blimp Pilots is a calming, introductory app to get your wee ones used to using a touch screen. Enjoy seeing the water ripple and the Koi fish react as your child plays the game. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

8. Dr. Panda’s Hospital by TribePlay Ltd. is perfect for little ones who love to role-play. In this app, your child can fix broken bones, ease stomachaches, and measure the blood pressure of furry patients. $2 for iPad, iPhone, and Android

9. Snackerdoodle by Maverick Software is a fun drawing app that allows your kid to use fruits and veggies to create their own pictures. Plus, it’s a fun way to start talking about healthy food choices with your child.  $1 for iPad and iPhone

10. Zoo Train by Busy Bee Studios combines puzzles, music, and spelling games into one app filled with five fun activities featuring two kid favorites—trains and animals. $1 for iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Windows 8, and Android

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Win Cute Snapper Rock Swimwear

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Yesterday, my little one and I spent our 1st full day at the beach this summer, and after about 5 minutes under the umbrella, I heard the dreaded “This is boring.” So the rest of our beach day consisted of her collecting seashells (and an accidental crab!), while I chased behind her applying sunblock every hour.

Thankfully, Snapper Rock has created a line of UV50+ swimwear for babies and kids that blocks 98% of UV rays. And, because no one should spend a beach day the way I did, we’re giving away a Snapper Rock top and bottom along with a Snapper Rock bucket hat and swim bag.

Leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, July 10th, and you can win a Snapper Rock UV50+ Swimwear Package, worth $127. If you win, you’ll have a choice of choice of a UV50 Top and Ruffle Bikini in Stars and Stripes in size 2, 3, or 4, or a UV50 short sleeve swim shirt and board shorts in any size 0 to 12.

Here’s where you can read the official rules. Goody luck!

Congratulations to our winner Joni Roller!

 

 

 

 

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Rosie to the Rescue: The Royal Baby Fever

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Rosie PopeAs the “royal baby fever” heats up, many of us have burning questions about how His or Her Royal Highness (HRH) will be raised, named, fed, clothed, schooled, and introduced to the Windsor and Middleton families—and of course us, the adoring public! So what do we know?

For starters the baby will be born in the Lindo Wing, the private wing of St. Mary’s hospital, which costs roughly 10,000 pounds. There, the royal couple will have access to postpartum and breastfeeding support, among other services. This is the same hospital wing that Prince William and Prince Harry were born in back in the 80′s. Prince Charles managed to sneak his way into the delivery room with Princess Diana, and William will be with Kate during her delivery, too. (The royals have modernized at least in some ways!) What is perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the delivery plans is that Kate is rumored to want both her mother, Carole, and her sister, Pippa, present with her in the delivery room—at least for the first part of labor. Add two esteemed doctors to the mix, and you have quite a crowd. In fact, critics have jested that it reminds them of the old, public, royal births when almost anyone could come by and view!

Proceedings after the birth will follow tradition with a 41 gun salute, a speech given by the Prime Minister in Parliament, and a poetic note displayed at the gates of Buckingham Palace announcing the royal birth. And amidst all the excitement outside, the royal couple will be presented with a comprehensive wine (and Champagne) list in the exclusive hospital wing should they wish to enjoy a toast to celebrate their new arrival!

Perhaps most interesting—and extremely significant in my opinion—is just how much Kate’s relationship with her mother differs from previous mother-daughter relationships in the royal family: The Queen’s parenting style has been notoriously distant, and she’s famous for “trying” to spend an hour a day with her kids; Diana and Fergie’s mothers both bolted from their fathers and took up refuge in far-off lands (the isolated Scottish Isles and Argentina, respectively); and Princess Diana’s tragic death came early in the princes’ lives. Kate, on the other hand, has a seemingly great relationship with her mother and plans to be a present and engaged mother herself. This baby is going to benefit enormously from the—dare I say it—more normal, affectionate, and hands-on parenting style of the Middletons. While this baby will be royal, HRH will be more Middleton in upbringing than Windsor!

In keeping with this close-knit family, a few short days after the birth of baby Albert, George, Charlotte, or Alexandra (all strong name contenders) will be whisked off not to the royal residences, but to the Middletons’ new manor house in the Berkshires (a very affluent country address). For the first six weeks of wee HRH’s life, he or she will be with grandma Carole and grandpa Michael. William and Kate’s snazzy residence at Kensington Palace is 300 years old and still undergoing massive renovations to remove asbestos and get it ready for the new royal family. But despite the renovations, I believe it was a deliberate decision of Kate and William’s to reside with the Middletons’ during the first weeks of the baby’s life, wanting the support that Kate’s family can provide.

Kate’s nursery decorating style will mirror that of her taste in fashion: elegant and classic with a modern twist. We certainly won’t be seeing any blinged-out, diamond-encrusted cribs in the royal nursery! Instead, Kate has invested in a Moses-style basket that will reside beside her bed for the first weeks, as Kate and William plan to have the baby sleep in their room at first. (Perhaps this is a nod to attachment parenting from Kate and William?) While Kate will of course have family help and the support of a staff, I have no doubt that she will be a hands-on mother as much as her position allows.

One of the most speculated aspects of the royal baby is HRH’s hair color. Many are wondering if HRH will have red hair, or be a “ginger” as we call it in England, just like his or her famous uncle! Geneticists have explained that the gene for red hair color is recessive, so the baby would have to receive the recessive gene from both Kate and William in order to be born a ginger—which apparently is a 50:50 chance!

So get your mini Union Jack ready, pour yourself some tea (or, if you prefer, some Pimm’s), and be prepared to be glued to the TV, because D-day is almost here!

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The End of DOMA: What Families Need to Know

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

courthouse

The Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act earlier today, 17 years after the law blocked the federal recognition of gay marriage. A separate case was also declined, making it legal for same-sex couples to marry again in California.

Before today’s landmark decision, gay couples faced many obstacles in terms of marriage equality. They didn’t receive Family Medical Leave Act benefits, Social Security survivor benefits, veteran benefits, benefits for spouses of federal employees, and spousal impoverishment protection for Medicaid long-term care. In addition, gay couples paid almost $1,000 more in yearly taxes and dealt with higher estate taxes.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote for the majority of the decision, said, “Striking down DOMA would give dignity to same-sex families and help end suffering of children caused by the current law.”

Children of same-sex parents will benefit from an increased income in the household because they can now be covered under the same health insurance policy as their parents. These families will also have access to Social Security benefits.

Cheers could be heard outside the Supreme Court, but the loudest cheers were coming from same-sex parents. These couples have the same rights as any other husband and wife. Children are realizing that they’re as good as everyone else, regardless of who their parents love.

Image: Courthouse via Shutterstock

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Rosie to the Rescue: The Gift of You

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Rosie PopeCheck out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!

As parents, we try to be the very best that we can be. And it’s easy to fall into making comparisons: What is everyone else doing with their kids? What gear do they have? What parenting techniques are they practicing? The list of questions goes on and on.

With all this looking outward for answers, we have the tendency to turn these thoughts inward in an anxious, “I’m not doing enough” kind of way: Am I playing with my kids as much as I should? Do I encourage creativity? Do I make time for my partner? Just think of the many questions we ask ourselves in, I suppose, some desire to be perfect. Quite frankly, its exhausting! And it’s no wonder that by the end of the day we don’t feel good enough about ourselves and our contributions to our families. Instead we feel overwhelmed, irritated, and ready to dive into a random box of cookies! Your day’s good intentions are shot. Forget going to the gym—it’s just not worth it since I won’t be running as fast or as long as that person on the treadmill next to me. After satisfactorily feeding our frustrations, we then vow to make tomorrow a new day! As much as you hate to admit it, you’ve probably gone through this same roller coaster of emotions at one point or another… maybe even last night.

Well, my lovelies, I have decided that being perfect is no fun and the endless journey to achieve it certainly isn’t either! If everything’s perfect, what can we laugh at? Perfect hair and perfect pancakes in a perfect house simply isn’t that amusing! And laughing, after all, is one of the greatest joys we can share with each other and especially our children.

I’m starting to learn that owning up to imperfections and letting our children see us embracing and dealing with them is what can teach them more than anything else. If they see us being happy and confident in the face of imperfection, focusing on our strengths and not swamped by our weaknesses, they, too, will do the same. Being perfect after all (or at least trying to be) doesn’t really teach them a great deal—other than sending the message that you are totally distracted, not relatable, ridiculously unapproachable, and absorbed in reaching some standard. Our kids don’t need us to be perfect; they need us to teach them how to deal with real life.

When we are constantly trying to be the best moms we can be, so many of us ignore perhaps our greatest gift to our children—ourselves, faults and all. However, I see it every day with the moms I meet: the insecurity. They have nothing to feel inferior about; they are doing a fantastic job, but somehow they are not able to see themselves as the great mothers they are. If you feel insecure about yourself and your contributions to your family, your anxiety will take hold. You won’t be able to be yourself and that is when things can go wrong as a parent. I am convinced that if you can let go of all the self-criticism and comparisons, you will find the confidence to just be the real, no-walls-up you. And that is one of the greatest gifts you can give your little ones as a parent.

So maybe I drank some wine on a Monday night, and maybe I slept in this morning and didn’t go running, but you know what I did do? I played a darn good game of “Mommy is a horsey,” and I’m feeling pretty fab about it!

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Rosie to the Rescue: Room to Grow

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Pope familyCheck out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!

After having my third baby, our apartment in the city officially moved into the “way too small” category. A bathroom became a closet, the main hallway became a putting green, the living room transformed into a makeshift castle fort, and my closet obviously was repurposed as the “dress up adventure/let’s open all of mommy’s shoe boxes because we’ve run out of places to play” area. So we have moved to the ‘burbs.

To my great surprise, it has not been the longer commute, nor the friendly neighbors delivering ample cupcakes, nor the increased amount of storage space that has been the greatest change for me. Instead, it has been the way in which I parent. In my apartment, my kids could roam freely and I would pretty much feel secure knowing where they were and what they were doing.  After all, I could see into every room, nook, and cranny from the living room, there were no stairs, only one way into and out of the house, and window guards—so basically a New York City fortress. Because of this, I could juggle multiple things at once while the kids ran around and did their own thing. Perhaps that’s why having three kids hasn’t felt too difficult, despite the gasps I always receive when pushing around my triple train of a stroller!

But now in our new house, if the children go into a different room or up the staircase, I have no idea what they are doing. And once I chase after them to take a peek, it turns out they have usually found the most dangerous thing possible to explore. (You know, the usual investigating circuitry or touching some bug not known to us in the far-off lands of NYC!) Ever since the move, we’ve had to work more as a team so we can stick together as we travel around the house. Whether it’s cooking, getting dressed, or exploring the garden together, my little ones are having to be patient with each other instead of wandering off and not waiting for their siblings.

The move has also helped my children learn about independence. I simply can’t keep my eyes on them at all times as I did in the city, so my rules are more strict and their responsibility is greater. There is a sense of freedom, yet there is more order all at the same time. To be completely honest, I’ve been a total neurotic basket-case as I’m learning to let them explore. (Meanwhile, I’m still learning how to make a good cup of coffee for myself because apparently Starbucks doesn’t deliver!) However, even without my regular dose of caffeine, last night as I watched them dig into dinner, truly hungry and tired from a day of fun outdoors, I could see the happiness over every inch of their bodies and knew this was the right move for us…. Even if this mama is going to have to learn a new style of parenting!

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