Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fears Learned By Observing Others Are Similar To Those Learned From Direct Experience

Science Daily Humans acquire fears using similar neural processes whether they've personally experienced an aversive event or only witnessed it, according to a study by researchers at New York University's Departments of Psychology.

Did not think that maybe some random expression of fear by her good ole parents could have triggered a fear response to something unrelated. However, I would also like to find something about genetic variation in inborn fears. Assuming something like being scared of the dark is inborn for a majority of the population, what would happen with changes to expression of this fear.

Where do Nightmares Come From?

I've been pondering a question today that I know almost nothing about. Researched some and still know almost nothing! I was thinking about what makes children, or adults for that matter, naturally scared of something. I am sticking more to young children while pondering this because, they do not have as many cultural and developmental influences as an adult. Has anyone seen a very young child have what could be considered a nightmare (say, under one year of age)?

Using my daughter as an example, it seemed that she was fearless for the longest time. Then there came a day when my daughter was suddenly, absolutely terrified of a dancing Jumbah doll It is a stuffed toy that makes farting sounds and bounces up and down. She had loved it the week prior. When I say terrified I mean that she was literally start shaking and run to the other side of the room screaming "NO! NO! NO!". Well, so much for that toy I though, and proceeded to use it as an effective way to keep my daughter from climbing the stairs. Eventually she got used to the doll, but was still scared of it. We couldn't even say the name Jumbah without getting a firm "No!" out of her.

This brings me to the present. Where did she learn to become scared of this doll? Was it a nightmare? Some trigger in her developing mind telling her to be scared of plump round fuzzy things that farted? *insert fat American joke here* It begs the question, are we hard wired from birth to fear certain things, or does or brain randomly make fear circuits, for lack of a better use of words. I believe there is a biological reason for why a lot of people fear spiders, snakes, etc... across cultural boundaries, but what creates the eccentric fears that seem to have no basis in previous experience? More research is in order I guess.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just a friendly reminder...

Just a friendly reminder, you cannot escape your children's illnesses. One week ago I watched in fascination as my daughter suddenly spouted snot out of her nose, wiped it all over her face, and finally rub her face from one side of the couch to the other. Of course a prompt clean up was in order, but I could not help but wonder at what else has served as an impromptu face wipe for my daughter. Sure enough the illness has already passed to everyone in the family. This may not be a problem if you have older children that actually listen, so the well known rules of keeping the family healthy are:

1. Wash infected individual's laundry seperately. This includes sheets, blankets, stuffed animals even. Bleach is the universal germ killer.

2. Keep handles, door knobs, faucets, and toilets clean. Lysol, or more simply, 70% isopropyl alcohol, which is cheaper and works just as well, will keep these hot spots from spreading germs to everyone very quickly.

3. Make sure children follow good hygiene. Sneeze into crook of elbow instead of hands, or better use tissue. Keeping hands away from faces is one of the most important tips to keep healthy. Also, closing the toilet seat before flushing is just plain nice, but is especially important if a stomach illness is going around.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The sorrows of being self aware

I find it very hard to come to terms with death, as I am sure most people are. The same end for us all. I will not know what to say when my daughter asks about death, I will never be ready for death, and I will always want to experience more, to learn more. My daughter's self awareness is so awe inspiring, yet so tragic knowing that one day it will be gone. Should I try to leave a mark on the world, or should I just experience everything I can, and provide opportunities for experience to my daughter? I have never been one with much moral fiber, just a wanderer trying to understand what little I can. Wouldn't it be grand to study every intricacy of the human body and it's consciousness and then move on past ourselves to the universe. The most I can hope for is to pass on what little I know. It seems that everything we as humans do with intent is a fight against death. I can't get my head around how some people try to make life harder for others when everyone has such little time. This post sounds depressing, but really it is more of just a general sadness at the inevitable, no one talks about death that much, it would be great if it was a more open subject.

"Listen you'll hear it,
We're getting near it,
I know i really fear it,
But we pretend it another day"


Study Links Diabetes and High Fructose Corn Syrup Found in Soda

Old news, but diabetes in children is on the rise ya go if you have no idea about this yet!

"A new study released Thursday suggests sodas sweetened with high fructose corn syrup may contribute to the development of diabetes. The study from researchers at Rutgers University, shows sodas sweetened with high fructose corn syrup contain high levels of compounds that previous research suggests may play a role in the development of diabetes."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Already planning vacation...Alaska??

I'm starting to think of vacation already, sometime in the next 12 months. Having not been out of state but a handful of times, I am thinking of going to somewhere like Alaska. Why? Can't really answer that, just always wanted to go. I'm not really big on going to a large city for vacation, and since this will be our first vacation as a family, it has to include our daughter, so no Las Vegas or anything! Wherever we end up going, lots of research needs to be done. It would be nice if we knew people in another state that could show us around, and keep us away from trouble spots. I'm so excited!

Conditioning kids to be fearful of men?

Just read something that I had not thought about before, and really, am not too sure about. Are we teaching our kids to be fearful of men? I've never thought about it before, as my child is never really in a situation where she could be easily separated or on her own right now, but these lessons are coming up soon. Would I tell her to seek a safe person such as a pregnant lady or older woman? Does this instill an un-spoken notion that all men are by nature unsafe? I would like to think not, but the truth is that it does. I would not tell my daughter to seek out an older male for example, even though I do not think this stereotype is necessarily true in all regards, however, it is true that most predators are male (reported ones anyway). Instead, what ever happened to find a person in uniform? Find the manager's office? Go to a public place, restaurant, etc?

"Are we teaching children that men are out to hurt them? The answer, on many fronts, is yes. Child advocate John Walsh advises parents to never hire a male babysitter. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers rather than male passengers. Soccer leagues are telling male coaches not to touch players."

"TV shows, including the Dateline NBC series "To Catch a Predator," hype stories about male abusers. Now social-service agencies are also using controversial tactics to spread the word about abuse. This summer, Virginia's Department of Health mounted an ad campaign for its sex-abuse hotline. Billboards featured photos of a man holding a child's hand. The caption: "It doesn't feel right when I see them together."
What worries me is what attitude our children will have towards males as they develop, not to mention how it must make men feel! It doesn't feel right when I see them together...I mean really, did an advertisement even have to go there? What if it was a woman's hand in the billboard, would it be as offensive? I guess I should really be more outraged at this, there are some easily influenced people in this country that will take this to heart and really get a grudge against males, but I guess I am so used to seeing this kind of bias everywhere that it is starting to affect me less.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where's this blog heading?

Well, I've noticed that I am straying toward science topics more and more, but I can't help it. I am trying to keep the topics related to health and kid's health in general however. I will still be posting tips and tricks, as well as updates about my little one, but with a lot more emphasis on education and science right now!

Negative Effects Of Plastic's Additive Blocked By Nutrient Supplements

OK This is geared toward pregnant people, which I am NOT right now, nor plan to be in the near future :) but I wish I was as interested in science articles as I am right now. It really isn't that hard to keep abreast of the latest findings and may potentially make new mothers-to-be more aware of their environment, which is always good for the baby. Anyway here goes an excerpt, it will be so tantalizing, that you will have to click on the link and read the rest!

"Science Daily — Experiments in animals have provided additional and tantalizing evidence that what a pregnant mother eats can make her offspring more susceptible to disease later in life.

This susceptibility is the result of a process that alters how a gene is expressed without actually changing or mutating the gene itself. Appreciation of this phenomenon has spawned a new avenue of genetic research known as epigenetics, a name which refers to changes happening over and above the gene sequence without altering its code.

In their most recent experiments, Duke University Medical Center investigators demonstrated that exposure within the womb to bisphenol A (BPA), an ubiquitous chemical used in the production of plastics, caused noticeable changes in the offspring without altering any of the offspring's genes. Additionally, the researchers discovered that administration of folic acid or genistein, an active ingredient in soy, during pregnancy protected the offspring from the negative effects of BPA.

In their experiments, the Duke team studied a well-documented strain of animals known as agouti mice. Normally, these mice tend to be slender and brown. While past epigenetic research at Duke has focused on nutrients given to pregnant agouti mice, the current experiments represented the first tests of a potential environmental toxin...." Full story here.

The 1lb baby born at 30,000 ft... and kept alive with a straw

As Nicola Delemere struggled through the pain of contractions, she was gripped with greater fears than the average expectant mother. She and her husband were 30,000ft in the air on a plane to Crete, she was 25 weeks into her pregnancy - and there were no doctors on board.

Now that is an amazing story! You don't see that in the news too much, simply unbelievable!

Printable Chart of First-Aid Procedures [PDF]

Lifehacker : "The guide comes in PDF format and provides emergency care instructions for a bloody nose, eye irritation, burns, sprains, blows to the head, choking, poisoning and open wounds. Since most people haven't thought much about this stuff since high school health class, a brush-up isn't a bad idea."

Handy little thing here! Go to
to download.

More on the Word Spurt

Calculating the Word Spurt (SCIENCENEWS.ORG)

By Julie J. Rehmeyer

When children first begin to talk, they learn perhaps a word or two a week. Then suddenly, at around 14 to 18 months, they seem to soak up new words like a sponge, learning as many as ten a day.

Child psychologists have long been puzzled by this dramatic acceleration, and they have developed a variety of theories to explain it. Some researchers have argued that as the brain develops, it reorganizes to become much more efficient at storing new words. Others have argued that babies are able to use their knowledge of a few words to deduce the meanings of other words.

Bob McMurray, a child psychologist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, now says that a bit of mathematics is enough to explain the phenomenon. Children's word absorption, he says, is the logical consequence of two basic principles: (1.) children work on learning many words at the same time, and (2.) some words are more difficult to learn than others.


A new mathematical theory explains toddlers' "word spurt."

McMurray created a simple mathematical model that assigned point scores to words based on how difficult they are to learn. A word like "mommy," for example, might be assigned just one point, whereas a word like "elephant" might get 10 and a word like "aptitude" might get 100.

For purposes of the model, he assumed that children are regularly exposed to all the words they learn and that the higher a word's point score, the more times a baby will have to hear the word to learn it. So kids will learn "mommy" quickly, but a rarely used and more abstract word such as "aptitude" may come much later.

McMurray notes that languages have only a small number of very easy-to-learn words and many more intermediate words. So when a baby has been exposed to enough language to learn the easy words, she will acquire just a few words. As she is exposed to more language, she begins to learn the medium words. And because there are a lot of medium words, she is likely to pick up a lot of words at this stage. This, McMurray says, is the vocabulary explosion.

"It shows how computation can illustrate some very complex implications of really simple theories," McMurray says.


In McMurray's model, the rate of word acquisition is initially slow but increases rapidly.

McMurray notes that because researchers don't know exactly what factors make a word easy or hard to learn, it's difficult to pin down the number of hard and easy words in a language.

As a first approximation, he assumed that a word is more difficult the less frequently it appears in written language or in mothers' speech to their children—statistics that are both readily available. He then noted that many other factors must influence difficulty, such as the part of speech, the complexity of the sound pattern, and whether the word's meaning is concrete or abstract. Putting all of these factors together, he came up with a roughly bell-shaped distribution with fewer easy and hard words than intermediate words. That distribution, plugged into McMurray's model of learning, naturally produced a rapid rise in rate of words learned following a relatively slow start.

"The explanation lies in the mathematics of learning," McMurray says.

Jennifer Ganger, a child psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, says other psychologists have argued that children may not undergo a word spurt at all, and that if they do, it isn't caused by any significant cognitive change. But McMurray's argument that the word spurt is caused by a single learning mechanism, working at the same rate throughout development, is novel. "This is important," she says, "because too much energy has been wasted trying to understand the causes of the spurt."

From: SCIENCENEWS.ORG, a great place for science news.

The sexists on the bus?

From purplelizzy on the Livejournal community alternparents:

"Once a week I take my nearly 3 year old to a mother & toddler group. At the end everyone gathers arounjd in a circle to do a few "songs & actions." One of the favourite songs is the Wheels on the Bus and at this group the way they sing it, it has a verse that goes:

The mummies on the bus go chatter chatter chatter
Chatter chatter chatter
Chatter chatter chatter
The mummies on the bus go chatter chatter chatter'
All day long

The action that goes with is one commonly used to indicate someone who is talking too much.

Now is it me or is this ridiculously sexist in this day and age? I'm not someone who is out to ban nursery rhymes like Baa Baa Black Sheep or anything like that but a song that teaches kids that mummies talk too much seems a little over the top to me."

I found this quite amusing. I've never heard this before when anyone sung this song. I admit I think it is a tad bit sexist, but it was probably meant innocently enough.

Kids and The College Parent

School has started again, both of us parents are getting back into the swing of things. Our daughter is still not in day care, and probably will not be by the end of the year at the rate we are going right now. I forgot how exhausting taking a full course load, taking care of our daughter, cooking, cleaning, and all the menial tasks can be. In addition, financial aid is not as strong this year. Books cost a small fortune on top of all other bills so it may be a skimpy 6 months ahead. Since it has been a while since the last post, our current kid situation is the following:

Potty Training:
Daughter is so adamant about not potty training right now, she has gone from telling us when she has used the bathroom on herself to loudly replying "Nooo" every time we ask her if she peed or poo'd.

Sleeping through the night without a pacifier:
Remarkably well. We let her watch a movie as she's going to sleep, and when it's over one of us kiss her goodnight, turn the lights out, and that's that. Such a good girl :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Medicare Maximum Income Limit

In Mississippi, there is a stipulation to receiving medicare that just boggles my mind.

"The new law coldly reduces the maximum income allowed for an individual to receive Medicaid in Mississippi from an impecunious $12,569 per year to a beggarly $6,768."[AAPD]
This does not just apply to senior citizens either. Earlier this year my wife had to have emergency surgery, and we were not insured at the time. We were pretty poor off financially (or so we thought), so we applied for medicare. We were denied because we made more than 326.00 per month. The astute reader will notice that this is even less than 6786 per year. So younger people get an even worse deal. Now we are both working hard, going to school, pay taxes, and are generally upstanding citizens, and all I can think of is "WHO THE HELL CAN LIVE ON 326.00 PER MONTH?!?!" Then it hits me. There are indeed people that do absolutely nothing, get everything they can from the government, and sit on their ass all day. You generally see them sitting in front of their hourse because they cannot afford electricity and they have no jobs. After being exceedingly infuriated for months, we found out we may apply for a charity grant to help pay some of the hospital bill. I guess it just infuriates me that the peole who benefit from this program are the ones least in need of it. Especially in Mississippi, where there are still FEMA trailer camps from hurricane Katrina where people are still trying to get the most out of the government. Well, live and let live they say.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

The COOLEST Science Kids Toys EVER!

Browsing Amazon for some science related kids toys, even though my daughter is way to young for them, I came across some of the coolest toys. I would have never imagined there was anything like these available! Being a science buff/geek, I may be more biased towards these kinds of toys, but I think that most people can appreciate the beauty of some of these. Educational with a twist!

This one is by far my favorite. Discovery Exclusive DNA Explorer Kit. It contains a centrifuge and all! From Amazon:

"This deluxe science kit lets you extract, view and map real DNA the way forensic scientists do. Explore one of the newest frontiers in science – DNA mapping"

Ideal for budding forensic-scientists or secret agents
Working lab and tools are just like the real thingIncludes all the supplies needed for six fascinating DNA experiments:

Centrifuge, Magnetic mixer, Electrophoresis chamber, Test vials
Ink samples, DNA stain (fabricated to mimic real DNA)
Mail order card for first two experiments*, 2 month manufacturer's warranty

Extract DNA from vegetables, find out what actually makes ink colors and even grow crystal stalagmites. This innovative look at cutting-edge science gives kids a taste of the excitement of discovery and science.

*It will take approximately 2-3 weeks for you to receive your Lambda DNA samples. There is no charge for your initial shipment (postage is required on card). Kit includes instructions for ordering additional DNA samples for $11.50 per order."

I include this next one just because I had an electronics kit when I was younger, and it was a pain in the ass to put together! I never actually got anything that worked do to the amount of wiring necessary. This one snaps together so it should be TONS more fun. From Amazon:

"Elenco's new Snap Circuits makes learning electronics easy and fun! Just follow the colorful pictures in our manual and build exciting projects such as FM radios, digital voice recorders, AM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells and much more! You can even play electronic games with your friends. All parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. Enjoy hours of educational fun while learning about electronics. No tools required."

Finally, another thing that kids would love is REAL X-RAYS. I would have liked them anyway, maybe I'm weird though! Animal X-RAYS are also available. From Amazon:

"Socko X-Ray Sets. …of one human or an assortment of beasties, but we took both home and so will you. These x-rays are very useful for biology teachers, but have endless applications. Make a very easy oversized jigsaw puzzle with the human pix or, with some super glue, a great shower curtain. But the real possibilities are for artists and designers-fold 'em into lampshades, blow them up and shrink them on a copier, or scan them and have fun in Photoshop". The human skeletal system, a complete skeleton when assembled, is in (18) sheets. The non-human set of (13) includes a marmoset, frontosa cichlid, green tree python, veiled chameleon, dwarf crocodile eggs, baby kangaroo, red-tailed hawk (oddly flamingo-like), sunfish, baby iguana, rattlesnake, box turtle, leaf frog, and a European rabbit which we think is particularly interesting.
Actual x-rays are reprinted on transparencies which work with overhead projectors, and range from 3-3/8" x 6-7/8" to 8-3/8" x 10-5/8" They come with info sheets in English and French."

And tha's about it for now. You may notice that I did not include any chemistry kits on this post. That is because a lot of chemistry kits have been dumbed down these days because some chemicals are now under a watch list for drug manufacturers. You can still get the chemicals, but you have to special order them. Meh, seems wrong to me. I digress though, hope you liked the list!

Who's still Afraid of Harry Potter?

So I am taking a two week Applied Writing class to bring my GPA up a bit and it is taught by a pretty liberal teacher. There is always a slight tension in the class as about 3/4 of the class seems pretty conservative. Recently the class has turned from conservative in my mind to downright ignorant. Usually I am not so judgmental, and I really believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I cannot understand when people defend their opinion with "just because" or "that's just how I feel" or "I don't think that's right". The topic came up about Harry Potter. The teacher simply asked a) if anyone has read it, b) is it any good? The response was "Man I don't think it's right that kids read that stuff", "A fifth grader reading a 900 page book is just not healthy", "I would never let my kids read that stuff with witchcraft in it".


On the outside I was like

But on the INSIDE I was like

Yeaaahh, that's the stuff :) I never meant to have this blog be so opinionated, and I really would like to hear a reasonable explanation as to why a Harry Potter book should be kept from kids. I think the best answer to to the above statements was when the teacher asked "So what about Cinderella and other fairy tales?" and the response was "Well those are OK". Nice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Kid Trick - Mean what you say!

I came across an interesting article today basically reinstating some common sense knowledge that we should all should know, but may not always practice.

Idle threats, hypothetical situations, ideas that are still in their formulation and incubation period, thinking out loud-all of these can be a parent's downfall. I know that we're not perfect and I have done my share of saying all sorts of things in the heat of the moment (or the heat of the battle) that I didn't mean-but I did learn from those old parenting television programs that our kids are smarter and more clever than we give them credit for. They know very early if we mean what we say or not, and if they get the message that we only say what we mean, we have more authority and credibility-and our children feel more secure and less likely to act out.(
Sound advice all around, dealing with kids or not. It is something so easy to forget, even if you have it in mind all the time. Empty warnings are a big no no in our house. We have a system where we ask our daughter three times, and if she does not listen on the third time, it's time out no questions asked, and it works very well. What I did not count on though is idle conversation. Such as talking to my DH about taking our daughter somewhere after we eat. She hears "pool" or "park" etc.. and she goes nuts until we go! If something comes up where we can't go, then it's a huge disappointment. She's still to young to grasp the concept of a hypothetical situation. Just remember, everything we say is absorbed by our children.

Possible Sighting of Madeleine

From: Possible sighting of Madeleine McCann in Belgium


A supposed sighting of Madeleine McCann in Tongeren, Belgium was reported to the police last weekend.

A woman informed the police of this possible sighting, after seeing a couple, a Dutch-speaking man and an English-speaking woman with a small girl at a roadside cafe.

Police are now conducting DNA tests on a bottle and straw that Madeleine assumed to have drank from. Results of the tests will be known next week.

That's great news for the parents, really, but am I the only one that worries about all the other missing kids? I am not being disrespectful in any way, just like to keep a wider view. I know everyone says "you wouldn't feel that way if your daughter went missing", and they are probably right, but I probably would not get the same quality search either. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why this is more tragic than half of the stuff I see on my local news. God that sound horrible, but horrible news is all they show on TV these days! Gosh I am being snarky today :)

I sympathize and send my prayers out, hopefully this is the break they are looking for.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Kid Trick of The Day - Know When to Trust the Guides

I've been worried lately that my daughter is not learning colors, numbers, the rate that she is supposed to. I can tell her a color of an object, she repeats it, then I ask her the color again right away...and says a completely different one! Argh! I was getting so frustrated about this that I forgot to look up the "normal" ages or milestones this occurs at. The point is, I would have saved myself a lot of frustration, and my daughter excessive color learning sessions if I would have just gotten a general guideline! As you may tell, I am not a huge fan of those books that tell you what is normal or not, without even telling you the standard deviation for these findings. The point is, it is good to have approximate values on hand in case you go on a developmental rampage (also applies to stool appearance, sleep positions, and strange behaviours) :)

Potential Health Risks Of Plastic Drink Bottles

Wow, learn something new everyday. I would definately be concerned over this more than the fact that Pepsi uses tap water! A compound used in the manufacture and lining of many products, including baby bottles and bottled water, may pose certain health hazards.

From Science Daily

"An independent panel of scientists convened by the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) will review recent scientific data and expects to reach conclusions regarding whether or not exposure to a widely used chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA) is hazardous to human development or reproduction."
Interesting. So what kind of evidence is there pointing to the effects this chemical has in humans? First a little background. From the limited research I undertook I found that BPA "Bisphenol A was investigated in the 1930s during the search for synthetic estrogens. At that time, another synthetic compound, diethylstilbestrol, was determined to be more powerful than estrogen itself, so bisphenol A was not used as a synthetic estrogen." (Wikipedia) I cannot find if any human trials were done, but it was being investigated as a stynthetic estrogen.
"Bisphenol A is known to be an estrogen receptor agonist which can activate estrogen receptors leading to similar physiological effects as the body's own estrogens.[3] The first evidence of the estrogenicity of bisphenol A came from experiments in the 1930s in which it was fed to ovariectomized rats.[4][5] Some hormone disrupting effects in studies on animals and human cancer cells have been shown to occur at levels as low as 2-5 ppb (parts per billion). It has been claimed that these effects lead to health problems such as, in men, lowered sperm count and infertile sperm. Recent studies have confirmed that bisphenol A exposure during development has carcinogenic effects and produce precursors of breast cancer.[6] Bisphenol A has been shown to have developmental toxicity, carcinogenic effects, and possible neurotoxicity. [7][8] Recent studies suggest it may also be linked to obesity by triggering fat-cell activity. [9] " (Wikipedia)
Sounds scary doesn't it? I am not trying to be one sided, and freak out over every little thing a la hypochondriac lady. Everyone knows that every chemical in the world has some group saying that it is killing us all slowly and painfully, so here is the flip side of the account:
"In January 2006, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment announced that polycarbonate baby bottles are safe, stating that published research is "difficult to interpret and [is] occasionally contradictory".[15] A subsequent study by the European Union’s Food Safety Authority reached a similar conclusion, and sharply criticized the methodology used in many of the low-dose exposure studies on rodents.[16]

Bisphenol A has been known to leach from the plastic lining of canned foods and, to a lesser degree, plastics which are cleaned with harsh detergents or used to contain acidic or high temperature liquids.[17] Infants fed with concentrated (canned) infant formula have among the highest exposures of anyone eating canned foods. Infants fed canned formula with polycarbonate bottles can consume quantities of bisphenol A up to 13 µg/kg/day.[18] The chemical is found in most people who live in developed countries at low concentrations. Debate continues on what is the safe limit of this compound. Within the United States, an exposure of up to 50 µg/kg/day (50 ppb) is considered safe - satisfying a thousand-fold margin of safety[13] - by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.[19]"(Wikipedia)

If anything I hope this makes everyone be more aware of the chemicals round us. I am not saying if this one is OK or not, the studies are still being done, but it is good to have an awareness. The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction is performing a study right now (see Science Daily link) and the draft report is available at

Monday, August 6, 2007

Where's the us time?

Making that last post made me realize that I am full on in mommy mode still. I do not have any classes right now during this part of the summer, so I am with my daughter all the time everyday, and it is showing I think :) My husband is gone most of the day working in a laboratory trying to get experience for grad school and/or work. Weekends are off though, so I guess we are kind of living up to the typical "American Nuclear Family". Just need 1.5 more kids!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Top 10 Kid Songs Stuck in My Head

I sometimes wonder if I have my own taste in music anymore. All of my memory spaces are getting taken over by the horribly catchy kid's tunes my daughter loves. She DID like to listen to The Flaming Lips - The Gash once, but it is rare that I get to listen to my own music when traveling around town! As soon as we get in the car it's "Moogeese Mommy!" Notice the way the syllables are all discombobulated. After correcting her pronunciation I concede and on it goes. So here is the top 10 songs that I can sing beginning to end with nary a pause, courtesy of my daughter.

1 - I want to be A Puppy Dog
From: Welcome To Ralph's World

2 - At The Bottom of the Sea
From: Welcome To Ralph's World

3 - Baby Beluga
From: Baby Beluga

4 - Oh You Beautiful Doll

5 - Purple People Eater

6 - Jeepers Creepers

7 - See You Later Alligator

8 - Hey Moe
From: Rock and Bop by the Doodlebops!

9 - Faces
From: Rock and Bop by the Doodlebops!

10 - Willoughby Wallaby Woo
From: The Singable Songs Collection

Quirky Discipline Rules That Work

A handy, and very useful, list of rules. From surprisingly: Quirky discipline rules that work. Give it a read!

Story Highlights

  • Clarity, enforceability make quirky parenting rules work
  • Successful rules usually give kids some measure of control
  • Parents have to be consistent for any rule to work
My favorites are:

"I don't work past 8 p.m.

Goal: Regular bedtimes and time off for you

You can't just announce a rule to your husband and kids that says, "Bedtime has to go really smoothly so I can get a break at the end of the day." It won't happen. But if you flip the problem and make a rule about you instead of telling everyone what they have to do, it all falls neatly -- and miraculously -- into place...."

"I can't understand you when you speak like that

Goal: Stopping whining, screaming, general rudeness

This one requires almost religious consistency of application to work effectively. But, essentially, you simply proclaim incomprehension when your child orders (rather than asks) you to do something, whines, or otherwise speaks to you in a way you don't like. Whispering this helps..."

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Kid Trick of the Day

This may be old news to some, but a sticker chart can be a great learning tool. Neither my husband or myself had one growing up, so we were skeptical at first, but once our daughter (2 years, for reference) saw the basic concept, she is eager to do the tasks required for a sticker. Here's how it works:

1. Set guidelines for your child

For example, at the moment our daughter gets a sticker whenever she cleans up after she is finished playing or when she willingly goes to the potty when she needs to use the bathroom. She doesn't pull down her pants yet, but she would not even be on the potty if it were not for the sticker chart!
2. Agree on what constitutes a sticker
Our daughter only gets stickers when she cleans up completely. She tried to put a few things away at first and would follow us around saying "mommy, sticker, daddy, sticker, mommy, sticker, daddy, sticker..." and so on ad infinitum. We were consistent however and now she proudly shows us that she has cleaned up.
3. Give a reward after a set number of stickers
We just use a piece of construction paper, and when it is filled from left to right she gets a reward. This can be as simple as a baking project with mommy or daddy, or sometimes she gets to pick out something from the Salvation Army, or sometimes she can pick out a movie to rent/buy, or sometimes...well you get the picture!

Thats the basic outline!

Friday, August 3, 2007

On the Issue of Stem Cells

I figured I would do my duty and help educate more people about stem cells. I am of the firm belief that stem cells are a promising area of research. If you have moral, ethical, religious, etc...issues about stem cells, there are now ways that may be available soon to produce stem cells without fertilization. These technologies will help better your children's life.

Recommended reading:

Full text answers about stem cell research

Researchers create embryonic stemm cells from unfertilized eggs

Child Eats Mother's LSD

Child Eats Mother's LSD

DISCLAIMER: Before quoting the text of the article, I would just like to say that some of this story seems dubious at best. First off I do not know what kind of mother would just throw something that looked like candy on the coffee table, within a kids reach, and then proceed to "crash". Can anyone be that dumb? (oh wait, yes they can) It doesn't matter if it was LSD or acetaminophen, the kid probably survived some other candy eating incidents before this! Parenting issues aside, the article states that the kid was intravenously detoxified in the hospital. This is simply untrue, there is no such thing for LSD. At most they might have injected the kid with thorazine or Versed to knock him out for 12 hours or so. So, in other words, don't take the article at face value.

"WEST BEND, Wis. -- A West Bend mother faces charges including child abuse after police said her 2-year-old daughter ate LSD-laced candy that her mother left out.

According to the criminal complaint, 23-year-old Donielle Maki bought 10 hits of LSD on Tuesday that came in the form of Sweet Tarts.

It says Maki took the LSD home with her, put her daughter to bed and passed out on the couch.

The complaint said when Maki woke up the next morning, her daughter was holding one of the LSD-laced Sweet Tarts in her hand and said, "I like these, Mommy."

That's when Maki grabbed them from the toddler's hand, the complaint says, and saw that only eight of the 10 candies were left.

The West Bend Police Department was called in when the 2-year-old was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital to be treated for accidental ingestion of LSD.

The criminal complaint says she was transferred to Children's Hospital, where she received intravenous detoxification.

Maki faces charges including child abuse, possession with intent to deliver LSD and possession of narcotic drugs.

She's scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 22.

The child has been released from the hospital and is with her father, 12 News reported."

Funniest Thing I've Read all Week

Stumbling around on the internet I came across an extremely funny livejournal post. In a nutshell, someone asked/told this person, in the bathroom of McDonalds, "Wait here for that lady to get out of that stall and ask her to help you go potty, while I go order the food." Really go read it, it is so much funnier than that statement.

Amazon Grocery?

So Amazon sells grocery store items now. I was skeptical at first, but this looks to be both a time saver and money saver, if you know how to shop. I think the free shipping on the Subscribe and Save program is what really changed my mind:

"When you order through our Subscribe & Save program,
• automatically receive a new shipment of the item in intervals you select--every one, two, three, or six months
• get a discount on our everyday price
• get free shipping on every Subscribe & Save shipment
• pay for each order only when the item is shipped
• have the option to cancel at any time "

This is straight from Amazon. It seems that if you look around for good deals, and know the relative price of similar products at your local grocery store (ahem, walmart), that you may end up saving quite a bit. Also it gives you more time to review your purchases, and you can set up automatic delivery each month. I may just give it a try and let everyone know how it goes.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hexadecimal Graffiti

I know it is not kid related per se, but the inner geek in me was intrigued by the following hexadecimal code written in the stall of a biology department bathroom. Intrigued I set out to decode it. I brought my camera to school, sat down on the toilet, and proceeded to take pictures of this art work. It took about three tries to get a clear picture, and it would be interesting to know if anyone saw the camera flashes in the hallway. Decoded, it simply states "Progress Sucks" . Clever, but it would have been much better if they used binary!

EDIT: Here's an ASCII Code chart:
ASCII CODE Chart. Hexadecimal is a base-8 number system, binary is base-2, and decimal is base-10. Each letter has a corresponding value, and upper case letters are different than lower case letters. These codes are standardized so that the value is the same on my computer as it is on your computer. Hope this clears it up!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Oh noes! Advertisements are invading my home!

This post courtesy of Dad!

Arriving home from university today, after being gone 11 hours, with very little time to see my daughter before she goes to bed, I am greeted in the most spectacular way when I entered the door tonight. Imagine if you will, closing the door behind yourself, and suddenly your daughter runs up to you proclaiming "BOM CHICA WOW WOW!" I stand at the door dumb struck. My 2 year old daughter has just greeted me with sexual innuendo from an Axe commercial, and not only that has pronounced it nearly flawlessly. My wife assures me that she learned it from seeing it once during the day and has been repeating it since. Something like this is innevitable I guess, but it sure was funny, and it will be something I remember for a long time.