Monday, October 28th, 2013
Two public schools in New York City have banned the wildly popular “Rainbow Loom” bracelets that, school officials say, are occupying students’ minds and attention well beyond the kids’ free time. More from Today.com:
The latest schoolyard craze causing a ruckus is the Rainbow Loom, which involves a crochet hook and multicolored rubber bands, and results in colorful bracelets that are the passion of elementary school girls and boys everywhere. Two New York City schools, however, feel the passion may be poisoning recess and classroom time.
In one Upper West side school, P.S. 87, anything related to Rainbow Looms is considered contraband, while in Brooklyn’s P.S. 107, students are still allowed to wear the bracelets, but they are no longer allowed to bring the “looms” and “related paraphernalia” to school.
Some parents are scratching their heads over the decision to ban what they see as a highly creative outlet for kids. In a world where arts education budgets can be strapped, prohibiting an artistic recess activity can seem counterintuitive.
The Rainbow Loom also defies stereotypical gender norms, as boys and girls are similarly obsessed with making, trading and giving the bracelets to their friends. In a story for Time magazine, Annie Murphy Paul expressed surprise when her 7-year old son, who normally plays football and baseball, asked for a kit and embraced “the distinctly feminine activity of making jewelry.” Murphy argues that the Rainbow Loom is more than a toy — it’s hope for gender equality.
“I think it’s a complete overreaction on the part of the administration,” says one P.S. 87 mom who asked to remain anonymous. Rainbow bracelets are an inexpensive and creative source of pride for the students who also use the trend to build community as they collaborate on pretty intricate designs, she says.
At the same time, other parents applaud the schools for taking action. They believe that the rainbow looms were disruptive to the classroom environment and created a divide between those who have the looms and those who do not.
Image: Rainbow loom bracelets, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington state Republican member of Congress, is pregnant with her third child, which will make her the lawmaker who has given birth to the most children while in office. She is already the record-holder for having had her first two children while in office. More from Today.com:
It’s all pretty surprising for the Washington state Republican, who wasn’t even married when she first got elected to Congress in 2004.
“I went through a time when I thought, ‘Well, maybe I’ll be single for the rest of my life,’ because I wasn’t getting a lot of dates,” she told TODAY.com.
The highest ranking GOP woman in Congress, McMorris Rodgers currently chairs the U.S. House Republican Conference, the body responsible for electing that chamber’s leadership. When she announced her pregnancy, she promised that neither her political duties nor her re-election campaign would be affected.
“I think it’s becoming more and more accepted,” she said. “As more women serve in Congress, you’ll see it will become more common for women to have babies while they’re serving. It’ll become easier in that people probably just won’t think as much about it.”
Image: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, via http://mcmorris.house.gov/
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Monday, July 22nd, 2013
A waitress at a Des Moines, Iowa restaurant who paid for a breastfeeding mother’s pizza dinner and gave her a note thanking her for breastfeeding her baby has gone viral across mom blogs and social media sites, with more than 2,000 Facebook shares alone. Reactions range from cheers of support to disagreement that public breastfeeding should be rewarded or celebrated. More from Yahoo! Shine:
Jackie Johnson-Smith, 33, a stay-at-home mother from Ankeny, Iowa was celebrating her 33rd birthday on Sunday at Fong’s Pizza in Des Moines with her husband and their three kids, ages 4, 3, and 12 months, when her youngest started fussing. “I usually don’t go downtown for dinner because lots of places aren’t family-friendly but I had heard good things about Fong’s,” Johnson-Smith told Yahoo! Shine. “It was chaotic—I had one kid licking the honey container on the table, another standing on his chair, and my baby was fussing.”
So Johnson-Smith threw on a nursing cover and began discreetly breastfeeding her 12-month-old. “I usually don’t like to breastfeed in public because people can be judgmental,” she says. “The waitress kept walking by, and I was worried she didn’t want me nursing in the restaurant.” Eventually, worried that her baby would continue crying, Johnson-Smith left the restaurant and finished nursing in the car.
Shortly after, Johnson-Smith’s husband walked out with a huge smile on his face. “He handed me the dinner receipt and at first I was confused—why is he showing me how much my birthday dinner cost?” said Johnson-Smith. To her surprise, there was a handwritten note on the paper: ‘I bought one of your pizzas. Please thank your wife for breastfeeding!’
“I was in total shock and started tearing up,” said Johnson-Smith. “After dealing with people’s reactions for so long, it was like the universe was giving me a pat on the back. I was too stunned to go back inside and thank the waitress.”
…[Waitress Bodi] Kinney, a mother herself, is familiar with the burden of breastfeeding in public. “Although I nurse my baby no matter where I am—at the supermarket, in clothing stores—people often react negatively. Recently, I had to leave my daughter’s school play to nurse my 8-month-old for fear of offending someone. I wanted to let this woman know in some shape or form, that she was doing the right thing.”
Image: Receipt from waitress Bodi Kinney, via Yahoo! Shine
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Friday, July 19th, 2013
In an inspiring example of the power of social media, a photograph went viral in Los Angeles and led to some distraction and fun for a family whose 2-year-old daughter is undergoing treatment for cancer. Hazel Hammersley’s parents, restless and anxious during a weeks-long stay at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, used medical tape to spell the message “SEND PIZZA RM 4112″ on their hospital window. After a Reddit user snapped a photo of the message, at least 20 pizzas arrived in the hospital room, eventually leading the hospital to politely say they were at pizza capacity. More from Time.com:
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Hazel’s family soon invited the other patients, along with their parents and nurses, to an impromptu pizza party.
In April, Hazel was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma tumor in her abdomen, and her mother soon began blogging to keep friends and family in the loop about Hazel’s journey. On the blog post about the recent pizza party, she wrote that she and her family “can only hope and pray that this brings awareness to Neuroblastoma and the Childhood Cancer Community. Awareness and funding is severely lacking, and to help get better treatments and outcomes for our children, we need all the support we can get!”
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Watch this astonishing yet controversial video of 16-month-old Elizabeth Christensen swimming alone in the pool.
Baby Elizabeth swims the length of the pool without any flotation devices or lifeguards. Her parents report that she swims three times a day and can dive in to get toys out of the pool. Elizabeth swims facing downward, using her legs and arms to propel her through the water, and rolls onto her back to catch a breath of air before continuing to paddle. More from Headlines & Global News:
Adam Christensen defended the video clip by explaining to the media that his daughter was trained by a certified professional. “When I first watched her in there, every time she went face down I was like ‘oh my goodness, she can’t breathe.’ I was just worried to death, but the instructor assured us that she was just fine,” he told CNN news. “We didn’t teach her ourselves. We wanted a professional, somebody that was certified to do that, but we still are able to recognize warning signs, when they’re fatigued.”
Christensen also wrote in the description of the YouTube video that he is a registered nurse trained in CPR and water safety along with his wife, who is a former life guard. He noted that Elizabeth was trained by an ISR (infant swimming resource) instructor.
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