The politics of baby carriers

You know you’ve been writing about parenting for a long time when you pick up the New York Times and ask, “Is this actually news?”

Hardly new, wraps and other types of baby carriers are traditional in many parts of the world, and Western versions have been used in North America and Europe for decades. But lately, “wearing” one’s baby has taken on a certain cachet, with celebrities like Brad Pitt and Keri Russell pictured in star-gazing magazines and blogs with their babies strapped to their bodies. Upscale versions of the traditional baby carrier are sold in stores from SoHo to Santa Monica, Calif.

ON a breezy afternoon last week, a steady stream of women cruised through Metro Minis, an airy boutique on Park Avenue in Manhattan, which opened in 2007 and has since become the city’s hub for young mothers who collect baby carriers the way some women collect handbags.

via Baby’s Snuggled in a Sling, but Safe? – NYTimes.com. Continue reading

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Corey Haim, another dead child actor

Corey Haim, 2008.

Image via Wikipedia

Corey Haim is dead, Los Angeles Police confirmed to TV station KTLA. He was 38.

Police say it is believed the actor, who had a long history of substance-abuse problems, perished from an accidental overdose at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

via Corey Haim, 38, Found Dead – Tributes, Corey Haim : People.com.

I’ve written about child actors before and my reluctance of letting my own gregarious child enjoy the spotlight. Stories like this only confirm my irrational (?) fear of the child actor curse. I’ve been trying to come up with a list of “normal” adults that got their start as children to compare to the tragedies. The lists are not looking so hot. Continue reading

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The 'good old days' when kids just had to suck it up

“Back in my day, kids were kids! We worked out our problems on our own. We didn’t go crying to some stranger with a whole bunch of initials after his name.”

Gus was ridiculing a conversation a fellow therapist and I were having about a 13-year-old she was treating for depression and acute anxiety. I didn’t rise to his bait, but it wasn’t because I had no interest in defending my profession. Rather, as with the college guys at the other end of the bar lamenting yet another epic collapse by their beloved Jets (this was before the team got good), it was that I’d heard the complaint so often it had become tiresome.

via Cases – Fake Nostalgia for a Pre-Therapy Past – NYTimes.com.

I don’t know if you hang out with the same old codgers that I do, but this idea that today’s kids somehow have it better than any other generation (as if that’s a bad thing) seems to be whined about on a semi-regular basis. The rhetoric is kids will turn out to be “soft” rather than strong if they get support during these formative years. That assumption is not only inaccurate, it perpetuates a negative behavior pattern if that kid grows up never receiving the help he needs. Continue reading

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Increase in maternal mortality due to inconsistent health care?

I just got back from Texas where I was taking my mother to various doctor’s appointments.  I discovered, not for the first time, that Texas really is like a whole other country because the lady just got there three weeks ago and she’s already seen at least four specialists and a GP. One medical complex we went to last week had computerized records and what must be the forerunner to the iPad where instead of printing papers to sign and filling out the same forms repeatedly everything popped up to be verified and she initialed the screen instead of a dead tree. Efficient and accurate.

Needless to say I was blown away since, in my experience in New York, it takes two months to get your first appointment with a primary care doctor if you’re a new patient and if it’s an emergency they tell you to go the ER rather than fit you in to their overcrowded office where you fill out reams of paperwork every time you step in the door. My point is there is a massive discrepancy in the quality of health care in our country depending on your zip code. One horrifying result is the increase in maternal deaths in California. Continue reading

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Sea Monkeys: Disappointing at any age?

image via Bri Meets Books

I went home with a package of Sea Monkeys at a press event a few years ago and was waiting for the right time to spring it on my daughter. After 21 inches of snow and two days indoors, last weekend turned out to be the exact right time.

The hubs and I were stoked to show her the magic we had been enthralled with as kids, but after purifying the water we both came back to reality and started to feel bad about the hokum we were about to unleash on our child.

Sea Monkey packaging is wildly deceptive and designed to blow little minds. Sucked right in, my daughter couldn’t believe her luck. She was going to have her very own Princess sea monkey that was soooo pretty, what with the big round eyes and jaunty pose. I too remember thinking these smiling friends would keep me company late at night, in my room. Our guilt was felt even more keenly as she went to bed and made a final request to please get her up in the middle of the night if the eggs hatched.

Four days later, still no smiling friends. Fearing a crushing blow of disappointment we asked our 4-year-old what her thoughts were on the mendaciously named Sea Monkeys so we could gauge her reaction when she would (hopefully) see floating fleshy blobs in place of the smiling, royal family.

What do you think Sea Monkeys are? Continue reading

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Take your kid to work day fail at JFK

As I was flying out of JFK this morning, I watched this as part of my in-flight entertainment –

[youtubevid id=”AvvmCldvsRQ”]

Listen, I think my kids are brilliant but I don’t let my four-year-old write my posts. And even if I’d like to believe otherwise, no one’s life is in my hands if I mess up.  Needless to say, I did not nap on this flight.

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Vaccine Rhetoric vs. Reality: Pediatrician Q & A

Recent admonishments from Britain’s General Medical Board and the Lancet aside, there is still a vocal sect that believes autism is caused by the MMR vaccine. It’s not only Jenny McCarthy – if you tune in to any parenting website and the topic of vaccines comes up, you can bet the comments will go off the rails at some point during a heated discussion.

The vaccine backlash has real world consequences as we have seen a scary rash of measles and mumps outbreaks around the U.S. and other Western civilizations that have the luxury of being suspicious about inoculations against infectious disease. Wondering how parents are reacting to the recent discrediting of Dr. Wakefield, I talked to a Park Slope, Brooklyn parent and pediatrician, Dr. Philippa Gordon of Gordon & Glaser Pediatrics about how this hot button issue plays out in her office.

As a physician in Brooklyn, home to some of the most vocal parents in the country, your practice must be affected by the debate. I see a lot of heated discussions on parenting message boards, but in reality, how many parents in your practice don’t have their children vaccinated? Continue reading

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