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10 Ways To Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten

Just in time for back to school time, here are 10 things caregivers and parents should do to make sure their child or children are ready for Kindergarten, compliments of our friends from the YMCA which offered these tips for our readers in the past:

1. Play games that encourage alphabet recognition – The alphabet go-fish game works as do those letter refrigerator magnets.

2. Help your child with number recognition by counting items throughout the day, for example. Count out loud the crackers, grapes, or carrots you put out for them to eat for snack, for example.

3. Help children recognize their colors. As you go about your day, talk about the colors in their cookies, toys or clothes, for example.

4. Develop shape recognition and motor skills by getting your child to practice writing, drawing or cutting out (child-safe scissors please) shapes like rectangles, squares or stars.

5. Talk about sounds that letters make and how they sound so they can begin to recognize words. Overemphasize the first sound in words to help your child learn to recognize individual sounds.

6. Practice writing and drawing with colored pencils, crayons or markers to help them improve their motor skills.

7. Read lots of stories and work up to longer books to help them develop good focus and learn to pay attention.

8. Give children the opportunity to interact with other children in diverse settings and groups such as preschool, church, social groups, or play dates. Socialization is a big part of kindergarten.

9. Teach children how to express their feelings. Help your child learn the best way to behave if she/he doesn’t like something. Role-play different situations she/he might expect.

10. Teach children to write his/her name. You can make it fun with finger paint, sugar or salt in a pan, shaving cream or frosting.

Follow these tips to make sure your child is on track and ready to head to Kindergarten next fall.

Preggophiles are Stealing women’s Baby Bump Photos Shared Online

Be careful about posting your bump photos online.

Men who frequent a pregnancy fetish website have been stealing pregnant women’s online photos and using those pics to lure other pregnant women to share their baby bump photos.

The Australian version of the Daily Mail recently featured the story of one woman of multiples who discovered someone had stolen her baby bump photo from online and was using it to entice other multiples to share their photos.

Australian mom Megan Ireland “was stunned to discover a mysterious vagrant was using her picture to solicit other women into posting their belly shots for a pregnancy fetish website,” Daily Mail reports.

“It makes me feel sick,” Ireland told Daily Mail Australia. “That’s my child in my stomach and people out there are doing really gross things.”

The revelation led several Australian groups dedicated to multiples to issue warnings about one particular person doing the stealing.

Those who comply would fall victim of their pics too being taken and posted among users of preggophile.com.

But this isn’t a new problem, as I have pointed out about the fetish before on rh blog, and I’m certain there are others out there doing the same, not just this one guy.

I’ve seen quite a few Instagram pages that encourage women to send in their pregnant photos. Sadly, many comply not knowing that they may fall trap to some online group’s perverse fascination of pregnant women.

Here are a few that raised some eyebrows with me:




I’ve also had odd requests from random men in the past including some from dudes who describe the “pregnant belly form” in an extraordinarily sexual way.

A few times, male-run pregnancy adoration sites have asked me to exchange Links and posts.

Um…no sir. You and your pervy friends can take your pregnancy fetish over there and away from my blog. Please and thanks.

Back to School Hair Style Inspiration Ideas from IGer Jill Ehat

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If you are planning Back to School First Day of School hairstyle ideas, we invite you to check out mom of 3 Jill Ehat‘s Instagram account. 
Daily, to her 45,000 110,000 followers (updated since we first discovered her last year), Ehat shares some of the creative styles she puts on the heads of her 7-year old twin daughters, Hallie & Brighton.
When Ehat isn’t styling the girls’ hair, she is managing their performance careers along with that of their 9-year old brother.
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Will You Be Sending Your Kid off to One of the Worst or Best School Systems in the Nation?

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Want to know if you are sending your kid off to a school in an awesome or not-so-good school system this year? Then, check out Wallet Hub’s 2015 ranking of the Best and Worst School Systems.

To find the best school systems, WalletHub compared the quality of education in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia by analyzing 13 key metrics. Its data include such metrics as the pupil-teacher ratio, dropout rates, standardized-test scores and bullying incidents rates.

States with the Best School Systems States with the Worst School Systems
1 Massachusetts 42 New Mexico
2 Colorado 43 California
3 New Jersey 44 West Virginia
4 Wisconsin 45 South Carolina
5 Kentucky 46 Oregon
6 Vermont 47 Louisiana
7 North Dakota 48 Arizona
8 Minnesota 49 Nevada
9 Connecticut 50 District of Columbia
10 Illinois 51 Alaska

Key Stats

  • The District of Columbia’s dropout rate is four times higher than Iowa’s.
  • California’s pupil-to-teacher ratio is twice as high as Vermont’s.
  • The percentage of high school graduates who completed an AP exam in high school is four times higher in the District of Columbia than in Mississippi.
  • The percentage of public high school students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once during the previous 12 months is three times higher in Arkansas than in Wisconsin.
  • The percentage of high school students who were bullied online is twice as high in Maine than in Mississippi.
  • In North Dakota the average SAT test score is 40% higher than in District of Columbia.

Read more here!

Essential Items Every New Mommy Should Put on Her Baby Shower Registry

Guest Post from Social Monsters

Close Up of our Hooded Towels

Walk into any baby store, and you might get overwhelmed at the plethora of items to choose from. As you browse for a stroller, car seat, high chair, bassinet, crib, dressing table and other baby accessories, you just may break into a sweat and leave — only to return later, once you have done a little research. And that’s a good idea. Read reviews, check recall lists and ask your friends and family for recommendations before you begin choosing items for your registry. Start your list off right with these four must-haves.

Swaddling Blankets

Swaddling your newborn not only makes her feel comfortable and cozy, it can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Research has proven lower instances of SIDS when baby is swaddled and placed on her back. Swaddling helps control baby’s Moro reflex and helps reduce awakenings caused by the startle reflex. To learn more about safe sleep, visit SwaddleDesigns.com.

Creating a safe sleep environment for babies is essential when setting up your nursery. For the first three months, baby’s crib should be outfitted simply with a tight fitted crib sheet. No loose blankets, pillows, toys or stuffed animals should be in the crib or bassinet. A fitted sheet and a swaddled, back-sleeping baby are a recipe for safer and more restful sleep for everyone in the house. Be sure to get swaddles that are large enough and made from high quality fabric. SwaddleDesigns swaddles have handy swaddling instructions sewn right into the seam for easy reference.

A Bedside Bassinet

The AAP discourages infants from sleeping in the same bed as their parents, because the practice poses a higher risk for SIDS and increases the risk of suffocation. If you want your baby close, instead opt for an in-room, free-standing bedside bassinet that is close to your bed.

With exceptional ventilation and adjustable legs, the Arm’s Reach Concepts Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper tops the list of reviewed co-sleeper bassinets. The side of the sleeper folds down, giving mom easy access to baby at any hour of the night. Room-sleeping products are designed to be used from the first night home until about five months of age.

A High Chair with Longevity

When you have a baby, you’ll finally realize why other moms say, “They grow up so fast.” It’s important to get items that grow with your child. Keep your kid seated safely from six months to six years with an adjustable high chair.

Convertible high chairs adjust to your child’s growth, eliminating the need to purchase another chair or booster seat in the future. Be sure the chair you put on your registry has a safety harness, an easily removable tray, seat covers you can wipe clean, something that fits your dining space and one that complies with ASTM safety standards.

Parents.com suggests the modern, minimalist HiLo chair by AGE Designbecause it has handy pull-out side buttons allowing you to easily flip the high chair with a tray and straps to a flat chair that slides under the table so your growing little one can sit with the family at dinner.

Babyproofing Gear

Some of the most important shower gifts are the baby safety products that you’ll need to protect baby from your home. Register for items like baby gates, lower cabinet and drawer locks, safety locks, corner guards and edge bumpers for furniture with sharp edges like coffee tables and raised fireplaces.

You may put off baby proofing your home until baby gets to the point where she can move around on her own, but you’ll find that comes before you know it. It’s best to create a safe environment before she arrives.

Due to the large amount of preparation that having a baby entails, many new parents overlook some key items that should be added to the baby registry. Add these four baby shower must-haves to your registry list to be that much more prepared.

New Home Pregnancy Test Detects Twins, Miscarriage chances

A British company is claiming to have created a test that can not only detect pregnancy, but also whether a woman is carrying twins, a baby with a genetic defect like Down’s Syndrome or will have a miscarriage.

MAP Diagnostics’ test is based on the science and technology behind in vitro  fertilization. During IVF, doctors can screen embryos and identify abnormal chromosome numbers as well as genetic mutations – factors that lead to miscarriages.

But unlike IVF treatment which is very invasive, MAP Diagnostics’ pregnancy test would be a home “pee test” that analyze proteins in the mother’s urine.

MAP Diagnostics states it is still fine-tuning the algorithm using “around 10,000 samples to improve detection of chromosomal abnormalities that cause Down’s syndrome, for example, before developing a home-testing kit,” according to a report in New Scientist.

Some say the test could be good for women or bad.

Indeed, a test that reveals a possible miscarriage could cause stress and lead to a decision to abort, said Zev Williams from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at New York’s  Yeshiva University.

The test could also have ethical implications, especially if it is faulty.

Women could preemptively abort a healthy pregnancy.

It could cause irreparable damage to pregnant women and families.

Back to School: Get Inspired by This Fly 4-year old (PHOTOS)

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It’s still back to school shopping time in many households worldwide. If you haven’t shipped your kid or brood off yet and have a little girl who goes to a school where they don’t wear uniforms, I invite you to check out the stylings of 4-year old Instagram model Nylah K from Oxon Hill, Maryland.

I found this tiny fashionista on Instagram and was immediately smitten by her very cute outfits.

Her mom is a braider who does  a fab job outfitting her naturalista daughter in the cutest get-ups for fashion shoots, contests and other gigs. These are my fave style picks I spotted from her and her mom’s IG. I found some similar pieces from our style partner at Shopstyle to match in case you want to get her look!

Just in time for back to school shopping!

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Guy hilariously trolls opponents to Target’s gender-neutral toy signage policy 

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Recently, Target buckled under pressure from parents over its gender-based signage for toys and announced it will get rid of them.

The decision irritated many who thought the move was made solely to accommodate the few children who may have gender identity issues or associations. Some said it was evidence of Target “giving in to the LGBT community” or to liberal agendas.

Some didn’t seem to realize that the policy only applied to signs in the toy section, and they felt it extended to all departments and to the clothing department as well.

Rather, the decision seemed to have more to do with responding to many parents who don’t want their girls to be told by a corporate entity that trucks or building blocks (which simulate logic and analytical skills which are crucial for math and science reasoning in school) are just for boys.  And they aren’t keen on a toy store stifling a boy’s interest in cooking and playing with a toy oven.


It isn’t about transsexual kids, per se, (though some of them may benefit from the move) yet the company’s social media accounts were flooded with comments from those who are confused about the impetus of the change and/or simply oppose Target’s move for various reasons, some political and some religious-based.

Dad and Facebook user Mike Melgaard used the opportunity to to create a fake Target customer service profile and troll Target’s social media accounts leaving hilarious replies and retorts to complainers of the new policy.

He managed to get in about 50 posts in for 16 hours of trolling before Facebook shut down the satirical account!

I don’t want to offend anyone who dislike the gender-neutral signage but these are my fave:








STUDY: First pregnancy weight gain impacts second baby 

A woman’s weight during her first pregnancy may affect the health of a second baby, even if everything went well the first time around, a new study has found.

It is already well established that a mother’s weight can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. For example, if a woman is overweight or obese, this increases her risk of developing gestational diabetes.

According to US researchers, many women are not a healthy weight when they first become pregnant. They may be overweight or underweight, although more often, they are overweight.

The study found that complications may occur during a second pregnancy even if none occurred during the first pregnancy, and even if the mother is a normal weight the second time around.

Continue reading

It’s National Middle Child Day: Debunk the ‘Middle Child Syndrome’

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Finally, it is National Middle Child Day!!

Each year on August 12th, National Middle Child Day is celebrated across the United States. This day gives special recognition to the middle child/children in the family.

According to the National Day Calendar website:

National Middle Children’s Day was created by Elizabeth Walker in the 1980s. It was originally intended to be observed on the second Saturday in August, however, along the way it has become generally accepted to celebrate it on August 12. In a newspaper article submitted by her grandson, Litton Walker, III, Walker stated that she wanted to create a National day to honor those children “born in the middle of families” whom she felt were “left out”. The name was later changed to National Middle Child Day.

It is believed, by many, that birth order plays a pivotal role in the personalities of children. The “Middle Child Syndrome” states that the first-born is often the leader and the role-player while the youngest one is always considered the baby of the family, therefore, leaving the middle child without a special “role”.

Birth order is known to contribute to the Big Five personality traits; extroversion, neutroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience.

One personality study claims that middle children tend to be artistic and creative.

I have a very energetic, middle child who is a joy but also a challenge because he demands attention and acts out when he doesn’t get it and oh boy does he know how to be seen! This kid will not be ignored.

My own sister who is a middle has told me periodically and numerously over the years,

“You’re the oldest, Hawa is the youngest and SB is the only boy (also in the middle), I’m just here stuck in the middle and no one cares about me!”

But as the years have gone on, my middle sister has been able to use being in the middle to her advantage.

She enjoys the fact that she can hang out with me at events, spend vacations and loads of time with my family and she is the closest sibling to me and she could kick it with our youngest sister too and has the best relationship with her too.

See, middle child angst isn’t something that has to be a reality if you take a glass half full approach.

Today, several articles and fun posts are being circulated in mass and social media.

I like the psychological exploration that Mashable took in its piece today, which argued that Middle Child Syndrome just doesn’t exist.

Despite the challenges middle children may face, some of the suggested symptoms of middle child syndrome (MCS) might be slightly hyperbolic.

In the book “You’re a Better Parent Than You Think, Dr. Ray Guarendi defines MCS as “feelings of isolation, of not belonging. Enjoying neither the parental attention and expectations given to the eldest, nor the relaxed parental standards experienced by the youngest, the middle child is supposedly lost in the shuffle, caught in between with no unique position of his own.”

…Even though many people believe MCS is linked to identity problems, withdrawal and behavioral issues, Guarendi explains that middle child syndrome, as a clinical disorder, just doesn’t exist. It’s merely a “prime example of how to create pathology using only a name.”

There you go! It’s all in your head!

And I also believe as some researchers have pointed out that gender and socioeconomic factors also play into disrupting the order.

I have a friend who is the middle and only girl in her family so she behaves as and has been treated more like an eldest because she has had all the responsibilities parents usually give to girls thrust upon her. She didn’t have the luxury to be ignored when meals needed to be cooked  and domestic work done.  Also, as a girl, she was more focused in school so her parents put in extra attention to make sure she got an academic scholarship to college.

But there are consistent themes in attitudes and behavior that cannot be ignored.

“It is pretty clear, I think, that they get less attention and investment from their parents,” one of the scientist Mashable interviewed said. “Now, whether or not that causes a problem is a bigger question.”

I’m sure Middles who are adults will say they are perfectly fine as is being shaped to be independent and figure life on their own, they take it by the horns and go!

Happy Middle Child Day, middles!