In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Monday, March 30, 2009

News of Interest for Parents: March 30, 2009

News to know:

Panel: All teens should be tested for depression
Nearly 2 million teens are affected by depression, prompting an influential government-appointed medical panel to recommend doctors to routinely screen all American teens for depression.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which sets guidelines for doctors on a host of health issues, published it's findings in April's issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The group recommends research-tested screening tests even for kids without symptoms. It cited two questionnaires that focus on depression tip-offs, such as mood, anxiety, appetite and substance abuse.

Painful kidney stones on the rise in kids
Children with kidney stones have been turning up in rising numbers at hospitals around the country.
In a 2007 study in the Journal of Urology, doctors at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center reported a nearly fivefold increase in children brought in with kidney stones between 1994 and 2005.
At Children's Hospital of Philadelphia reported the number of children treated for kidney stones since 2005 has climbed from about 10 a year to five patients a week now.
While doctores are unsure why why there seems to be an increase in the number of children with kidney stones, some blame kids' love of cheeseburgers, fries and other salty foods.

Babies born just a little early may face delays
Babies born just a few weeks early face higher odds of developmental delays and behavior problems that show up in kindergarten, according to a study in April's Pediatrics journal.
In the study, babies born at 34 to 36 weeks were 36 percent more likely to have developmental delays including learning difficulties in kindergarten than those born during the 37th to 41st week of pregnancy, which is the range for a full-term pregnancy.
Reasons for the results are uncertain, although brain immaturity is one theory.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sometimes being careful isn't enough

I am a careful mom.
I don't hand my second-grader the remote and let her while away her time in front of the tv.
I monitor her computer time, her library books, and the clothes she pulls off the store racks.
A few days ago, I was doing a search on my computer for some photos for my website. I'm revamping it--widening my brand from late-in-life motherhood to embrace all the topics I write and speak about. You'll be seeing some changes in the next few weeks.
I googled the terms "photos of moms and teen sons."
Pretty benign six words, if you ask me.
Not according to my Google search engine.
I didn't see anything. But the brief description of what I could have seen made me sick.
And it also made me angry.
Remember, I'm a careful mom. I have filters on my computer--and yet this trash still showed up.
What's a mom to do?
As I work on my book to equip moms to help their sons resist the lure of pornography, I'm learning some things.
I shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore.
I'm standing on the front line--between my child and everything else that is out there.
Reality: I can't protect myself from this stuff.
Reality: I won't be able to completely protect my child from this stuff either.
It's not about remaining ignorant to what's happening in the world. I need to be ready to help my daughter make right choices when she stumbles across what's wrong in this world. The challenge? Protecting her innocence while not allowing her to be naive.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms March 25, 2009

News to know:

Single embryo best for infertility treatment
Implanting a single embryo is the cheapest and most effective way for women to have a healthy baby through fertility treatment,according to a study in Human Reproduction .
Researchers compared the outcomes for 1,510 women seeking fertility treatment at a single clinic between 1995 and 1999 when double embryo transfer was more common and from 2000 to 2004 when single embryo transfers were more widespread.
They found that more babies were born at term for women who received a single embryo, with birth rates per woman of nearly 42 percent compared to about 37 percent for those who received multiple embryos.

Study: Anesthesia in infancy linked to later disabilities
There is a link between exposure to anesthesia during surgery in infancy and learning disabilities later in life, according to a study published in Anesthesiology.
Mayo Clinic researchers studied a group of more than 5,000 children born between 1976and 1982. Researchers tracked the number of operations each youngster underwent before age 4, as well as scores on reading, writing and math tests, administered once a year from elementary school through high school. Children with two or more exposures had a 60% increased chance of developing a learning disability compared with babies who had not had any operations.
Researchers cautioned they were unsure whether it was an underlying condition that may have required surgery and precipitated the learning problems.

24,000 Fisher-Price high chairs recalled
About 24,000 3-in-1 high chairs, manufactured in Mexico and imported by Fisher-Price of East Aurora, N.Y., because the seat can fall backward from the frame if the release is unlatched while a child is inside.
Details: by phone at 800-432-5437; by Web at or
About 2,900 Baby Necessities pacifiers, manufactured in China and imported by OKK Trading of Los Angeles, Calif., because they failed federal safety tests. The nipples can separate from the base and pose a choking hazard.
Details: by phone at 877-655-8697; by Web at or

Most states lag on teen dating violence laws
Many states don’t treat teen assaults with proper seriousness, according to Break the Cycle, a teen-violence prevention organization.
In a recent report, the organization gave A grades to only five states. Twelve states got D’s and 11 failed.
Grades were based on comparisons between the legal treatment of adult victims of domestic violence and teen victims of dating violence. States automatically failed if protective orders were unavailable for minors.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Cell phones and your kids: Sexting, anyone?

Teens with cell phones have taken texting to a whole new twisted level. High school students across the country are being charged with child pornography for texting nude or semi-nude photos of themselves.

~A 15-year-old girl from Mason, OH admitted in court to sending a nude photo of herself last month via a text message on her cell phone to another minor. The girl entered a plea of admission to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

~Six Pennsylvania high school students faced child pornography charges after three teenage girls allegedly took nude or semi-nude photos of themselves and shared them with male classmates via their cell phones. All but one of the students accepted a lesser misdemeanor charge, partly to avoid a trial and further embarrassment, a public defender in the case said. The mother of one boy is considering fighting all charges.

~A 15-year-old girl in Newark, Ohio faced similar child pornography charges for sending her own racy cell phone photos to classmates. She eventually agreed to a curfew, no cell phone and no unsupervised Internet usage over the next few months. If she complies, the charges will be dropped.

A survey by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, in conjuction with, found that 1 in 5 teens admits to sending out digital nude or semi-nude photos of themselves.

The online survey of 1,280 teens and young adults also found:

~About 22 percent of teen girls, including 11 percent of those between the ages of 13 and 16, and 18 percent of teen boys say they’ve shared racy photos of themselves and these racy images are also getting passed around

~33 percent of teen boys and 25 percent of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images -- originally meant to be private -- shared with them

~15 percent of teens who have sent sexually suggestive content such as text messages, email, photographs or video say they have done so with someone they only know online

The questions being raised by parents, teens, and the courts are: Should these teens be charged with child pornography? Should their names be put on sex offenders' lists? Or is this something parents should handle with their kids--and should the courts butt out?

I tend to take a hard-line approach to this kind of misbehavin'. I've never understood the "three-strikes-your-out" approach to drunk driving. Why don't we take a person's driver's license and hand down a stiffer sentence the first time someone is caught driving drunk?

I don't think sending someone naked photos via your cell phone is childish behavior, either. Parents, we need to step up the the plate and be involved with our kids lives. What does that mean? Don't assume everything is a-okay as far as what they're watching on YouTube, what they're posting on their MySpace page, and what they're texting to their friends.

Check out My Mobile Watchdog, which safeguards your child's cell phone by immediately alerting you if he or she receives unapproved email, text messages or phone calls.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms March 18, 2009

News to know:

Unwed birth rate reaches all-time high

More than 4.3 million babies were born in in the United States in 2007, federal researchers reported Wednesday. This is a record number of births--topping the birth rate of any year in the nation's history.

The birth rate rose slightly for women of all ages, and births to unwed mothers reached an all-time high of about 40 percent, continuing a trend begun years ago.

Migraine in pregnancy tied to stroke, heart attack

Women who suffer from migraines while they are pregnant are at increased risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or other vascular disorders, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers found that 185 out of every 100,000 women had migraines during pregnancy. Women with migraines had a 15-fold higher risk of having a stroke and twice the risk of a heart attack compared to women without migraines. Migraines were also associated with increased risks of developing high blood pressure or a blood clot in the lungs.

Hassled teens may face high heart risk later

Teenagers who experience a lot of daily interpersonal stress have increased blood levels of a protein linked to chronic inflammation. The finding in a small study published in Psychosomatic Medicine might indicate a greater risk of heart disease later in life.

Researchers had 69 high school seniors kept daily records for two weeks of negative interpersonal interactions, such as conflict with family, harassment by peers, or reprimands from teachers. The teens' blood levels of C-reactive protein were measured about 8 months later. Previous research has linked higher blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for body-wide inflammation, with increased risk for cardiovascular disease in adults.

Sustained exercise seen best for kids' weight

Longer bouts of exercise may help children maintain a healthy weight better than sporadic activity throughout the day, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study of 2500 youngsters 8 to 17 years old found the more moderate-to-vigorous exercise they got, the less likely they were to be overweight.

Lack of vitamin D tied to teen health problems

Low levels of vitamin D in teens has been linked to high blood pressure and high blood sugar, which can lead to ominous early health problems, according to a study presented at an American Heart Association conference.

Teens in the study with the lowest levels of vitamin D were four times more likely to have metabolic syndrome -- defined as have three of more conditions that contribute to heart disease and diabetes -- including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, big waists and high cholesterol.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

The porn problem: What's a mom to do?

Did you know there's a federal law that makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to look at pornography?

And yet ...

~The largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children between the ages of 12 and 17. ~ Family Safe Media, December 2005

~In one survey, 42 percent of Internet users age 10 to 17 said they had seen online pornography. ~ Report released in Pediatrics February 2007

~Another study found that 47 percent of school-age children (7-18 years of age) received spam with links to X-rated web sites on a daily basis. One in five opened the spam. ~ Business Wire June 9, 2003

What's an mom to do?

I've got some practical answers to that questions. And I'll be talking about equipping moms to help their sons--and daughters--resist porn on this website as we transition it from Mommy-Come-Lately® to "Life: Perfection not Required.

Watch for a revamped website coming soon.

I'll still be talking about the joys and challenges of late-in-life motherhood--that won't change. But, I'm expanding my vision. I believe life doesn't have to be perfect to be fulfilling.

On a rather funny note: A good friend pointed out I had a typo in my original post. I wrote "perfecton" instead of "perfection." How ironic.
And, thank you, Marty, for pointing out the mistake and for being my friend, even though I am not perfect.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What is Love? Answers from 4 to 8 year olds

A group of professionals posed the question, "What is love?" to a group of 4 to 8 year old children. Here are some of the answers:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8


"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4


"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5


"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissie - age 6


"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4


"Love is when my mummy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7


"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mummy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
Emily - age 8


"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7


"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,'

Nikka - age 6


"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7


"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6


"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8


"My mummy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6


"Love is when Mummy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5


"Love is when Mummy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7


"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4


"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4


"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen - age 7


"Love is when Mummy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6


"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8


And the final one: Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said,
'Nothing, I just helped him cry'


Monday, March 09, 2009

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms March 9, 2009

News to know:

Children of older dads do less well in IQ tests

Children of older fathers appear to perform less well in intelligence tests during infancy and childhood, according to a new study.
The study found that children with older mothers tended to gain higher scores in the same tests, which measured the ability to think and reason, including concentration, learning, memory, speaking and reading skills.
Australian researchers analyzed data from intelligence tests taken by 33,437 children who were born between 1959 and 1965 in the United States.

Five myths of fertility treatments

Robin Nixon offers a special report on about common misperceptions about "test-tube" and "designer" babies.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

All the To Do about the Hairdo!

Girls and their hair!

I am now embroiled in a discussion with Christa, my caboose kiddo, about her hair. Several years ago, she was all about growing her hair lo-o-ong. Any of you moms out their with daughters who have lo-o-ong hair know the kind of daily battles I had with Christa as I brushed, braided, twisted, pony-tailed, piggy-tailed, and untangled my daughter's hair. Sometimes multiple times a day.

Then Christa decided to donate her hair to Locks of Love--and she ended up with one adorable, short "do"! I mean, grown women commented on my daughter's hairstyle!

About a year ago, Christa started talking about wanting long hair again. I gotta admit, I had not missed the daily battles with brush and barrettes. But, over time I gave in and let Christa's hair grow. It is now just past her shoulders.

Yesterday--after a less-than-fun grooming session--Christa informed me that she was ready for a short haircut again.

I was relieved. And then Christa described the haircut she wanted. Now, with two grown daughters, I consider myself a pretty flexible mom. I survived two teen daughters, thank you very much! As Christa and I flipped through online photos of possible haircuts, she kept saying, "I want a diagonal cut." She even drew a picture of what she wanted. I kept hoping that it was missing something in the translation.

This afternoon, we found a photo that displayed the style Christa wants. Pardon me--but I just can't imagine my 8 year old with Victoria Beckham's (one of the Spice Girls) trendy do on her sweet little face.

What's a mom to do?

Well, this mom brought in the big guns--Christa's dad! Nobody can say "NO" and mean it like my husband. Then I promised we'd have some more fun surfing photos online and find a cute and appropriate style for her. I'm open to suggestions.


Monday, March 02, 2009

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms March 2, 2009

News to know:

TV may do no harm or good to babies

Watching television neither hurts or helps babies' development, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

The study found no correlation between the amount of time children spent viewing television before they reached 2 years of age and their progress at age 3.

Vitamin B12 can prevent major birth defects

Researchers recommend women get enough vitamin B12 in addition to folic acid before becoming pregnant. Doing so decreases their risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect of the brain and spinal cord.

The study, which was published in Pediatrics, showed that vitamin B12 deficiency was a risk factor for neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly independent of folic acid, another B vitamin.

Common household chemicals tied to infertility
Shampoo, clothes, food packaging, and other household products contain chemicals that may make it harder for some women to get pregnant, according to the first study on the subject.

Researchers looked at chemicals belonging to a group called perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, which appear in a variety of common products, from upholstery to pesticides

While researchers said it's still too early to recommend women who want to conceive try to avoid these products, results are concerning.

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