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Debunked: Tiger Mom Amy Chua’s new book on why some cultural groups are failures

Peter Mahakian
The infamous Yale Professor who brought us the New York Times best selling Battle Hym of he Tiger Mom” is back! 
This time, Amy Chua has paired up with her Jewish husband Jed Rubenfeld in a new book where the two enumerate the cultural (read: ethnic) groups that make the best and most superior mothers, and thus produce superior children.
They are: 
Cuban exiles
In The Triple Package, Chua and Rubenfeld list three characteristics they say make mothers in these groups exceptional: Superiority Complex, Insecurity and Impulse Control. 
The  New York Post did a good job summarizing these attributes but in a nutshell it comes down to parents in those groups (1) believe they are better people than and superior to others, (2) are insecure about being called out as not being genuine or shamed if they fail, and (3) can control impulses to spend too much or get sidetracked; and are resilient and focused in the pursuit of success.
African Americans are not successful because since the civil rights era, they, as a group, have lived their lives being told and made to feel inferior. Because of that, they lack the superiority complex needed to be successful people.
Interesting theory. 
The conservatives who believe that black Americans’ historical reliance on government assistance have created people who are weighted by living their lives as victims of oppression may agree.
Controversy sells. 
Chua knows this given the success of her first book. The villain in any movie, TV or book series is memorable, get airplay and stay on the minds and mouths of the public.
So who cares if the theories are based on disjointed themes, fallacies and are layered with inconsistencies, right?
For example, how can one think they are the best yet live their lives in constant fear of being labeled a “fraud”, and insecure?  That would mean they are thus inferior to those who live and behave freely without that irrational fear.  
Thus, Chua and Rubenfeld’s version of “superiority” amounts to self-induced false bravado based on awareness of ancestral greatness, that is then used as a coping mechanism to propel one forward, as a buoy from  sinking under the weight of others’ criticism. 
No thanks. They can keep that.
And shouldn’t we want secure and content parents who teach their children to be genuine in their selves?
The book seems to elevate social climbers, people who spend their entire lives clawing to the top of the socio-economic ladder only to be miserable, friendless and on anxiety meds and in therapy.

It also seems to equate success with wealth and success in work and business, while discounting the costs.
Be mindful that many rich people struggle with drugs and alcohol abuse, and also India and China have a  high suicide rate some of it induced by pressures from parents and their society to succeed.

So success at what cost and by what standards?

One study found that rich kids are more likely to use drugs than poor ones, and rich teen girls have more abortions than poor teens. All of the measures of success can be countered with research that digs into them. 
Finally, the distinctions between a Nigerian and a Ethiopian mom; an Indian and Pakistani mom; a Lebanese American and a Syrian-American mom are negligible. Whatever qualifying measures Chua and Rubenfeld came up with to pick out one over the other could probably be seen in abundance in another closely related group with similar ethic, cultural and historic backgrounds.
Rather, it is arbitrary to make distinctions and apportion them to such large groups.

It all comes off as unsubstantiated and a bit silly. But it will get us all talking for sure. Look at us now.

What do you think about Chua’s new book? Have you read it? Will you?

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Gwen Stefani for O.P.I. was Met Ball’s “Punk” theme inspired (PHOTOS)

Recall when we were stalking checking out mom-to-be again Gwen Stefani‘s Twitter stream and we caught her in the middle of a photo shoot, grinding?
Well it was for a campaign for O.P.I. nail polish which just signed the No Doubt front woman to be featured as a spokesperson.  The colors have launched and are now available on line and at national retailers and beauty supply stores.
O.P.I stated in its release these Gwen colors were initially inspired by the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala which had a theme last year, “Punk: Chaos To Couture”
The collection of polishes all that celebrates “the role of music as a major influence in fashion.”
The collection features five nail colors and includes a four-piece mini pack and two-piece set with base coat named “Lay Down That Base”. The polishes retail for $9 each and the mini-pack is $12.95.
So far I’m in love with Hey Baby & Love, Angel, Music Baby, so Posh!
Check out some of the various campaign pics:



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Study: Vitamin D supplements in pregnancy linked to strong baby muscles

Researchers have suggested that babies are likely to have stronger muscles if their mothers had a higher level of vitamin D in their body while they are pregnant.

In the research vitamin D levels were measured in 678 mothers in the later stages of pregnancy.

When the children were four years old, grip strength and muscle mass were measured. Results showed that the higher the levels of vitamin D in the mother, the higher the grip strength of the child, with an additional, but less pronounced association between mother’s vitamin D and child’s muscle mass.

Lead researcher Dr Nicholas Harvey, Senior Lecturer at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton said that these associations between maternal vitamin D and offspring muscle strength may well have consequences for later health; muscle strength peaks in young adulthood before declining in older age and low grip strength in adulthood has been associated with poor health outcomes including diabetes, falls and fractures.

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Report: Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake expecting first child

When Jessica Biel was absent from her husband’s Saturday Night Live appearance late last year, gossip rags speculated that she and husband Justin Timberlake were having trouble. 

However, it most likely was due to her morning sickness from a pregnancy, Gossiping Pens reported exclusively on January 1. 
“Jessica is merely staying out of the spotlight to focus on the pregnancy and you can expect an official announcement from the couple in the coming weeks,” Gossiping Pens.Biel & Timberlake married in Oct. 2012 and have been reportedly interested on starting a family.But this is not the first time Biel has been rumored to be expecting so time will tell. If true, congrats! More music/Hollywood royalty a coming in 2014!Woot!

10 tips for this winter’s play outdoors

With rising childhood obesity rates and the increasing illnesses that accompany a sedentary lifestyle, it’s no secret that kids should be encouraged to get outside and engage in active play. As the lower temperatures approach, so does cold and flu season, which can be greatly exacerbated when kids are held indoors where germs can easily be spread through respiratory droplets and exhalations. Keeping kids safe while they’re out in the cold, however, is an absolute necessity. The following guidelines can help you ensure that your kids’ activity levels don’t suffer at the onset of winter and that they stay safe until the spring thaw rolls around.

  1. Use Sunscreen – Protecting kids’ skin from the damaging rays of the sun is a major priority for most parents and caregivers during the summer months, but one that often falls to the wayside when temperatures cool down. In fact, the reflection of the sun off of snow and ice can be almost as damaging as direct exposure. Make sure that your youngsters are slathered with sunscreen before they hit the outdoors.
  2. Waterproof Clothing is Key – Keeping kids warm during the winter chill relies heavily upon your ability to keep them dry. Melting ice and snow can leave most fabrics wet, soggy and very cold. Make sure that you invest in some waterproof or water-resistant clothing and shoes, especially proper boots.
  3. Know the Signs of Frostbite – Frostbite occurs when your child’s skin or extremities are literally frozen. The nose, ears, fingers, cheeks and toes are most commonly affected, and it can be quite dangerous when these extremities suffer from frostbite. Signs of superficial frostbite include itching, numbness, tingling or burning sensations. The affected skin may become white, flushed, yellow or blue and appear frozen, and will be cold to the touch.
  4. Dress for Success – Just because your kids are bundled against the cold doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wearing safe clothing. Hoods and hats don’t take the place of helmets for activities like biking or skating, while tight clothing that restricts movement can present a danger as it inhibits kids’ ability to move and balance properly. Be sure that your brood is dressed appropriately for outdoor play, not just for cold temperatures.
  5. Insist on Warm-Up Breaks – When kids are enjoying themselves and are particularly absorbed in an activity, it’s easy for them to lose track of time. That’s why it’s important for you to insist on periodic warm-up breaks to check for signs of hypothermia or frostbite and ensure that they don’t get too cold.
  6. Keep Ice Skating Safe – Ice skating is a beloved, time-honored cold-weather outdoor activity. It can also be quite dangerous, though. Public areas designated for ice skating are far safer than ponds or bodies of water on your own property, which may not be thoroughly frozen and could crack under kids’ weight. Be sure that any ice your children are going to skate on is frozen solid, and that they’re wearing the right protective gear.
  7. Smart Sledding – Racing down a snow-covered hill on a sled is one of life’s great thrills, even for adults. Kids love sledding, but it’s important that they understand the basic safety rules before setting out. Sledding down hills that terminate near a road, down paths that have obstacles like jumps, rocks or bumps, or down icy slopes are all sledding safety no-nos. Kids should also never be pulled on sleds behind moving vehicles of any kind.
  8. Don’t Forget About Dehydration – Dehydration isn’t a concern reserved solely for warm-weather months. While your children are enjoying a session of outdoor play, be sure that they’re taking in plenty of fluids.
  9. Scarf Safety – Scarves are useful tools for protecting against the cold, as they can be wrapped around almost any part of the body that feels cold. However, they can also become ensnared in moving parts of toys or overhanging branches, closed in doors, or otherwise tangled in a manner that presents a strangulation risk. It’s better to opt for cowl-style scarves until kids are a bit older and less rambunctious.
  10. Double-Check Equipment – Making sure that any equipment for outdoor play, whether new or old, is in good condition, fits properly and is otherwise suitable for use before sending kids outside with it. Damaged or broken equipment can very easily cause injuries, especially if kids are using them improperly to compensate for the damage.

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Get Winter Boots chic like Gwen!

Mom-to-be Gwen Stefani lives in boots and has been all pregnancy long, so far. This winter, if you are pregnant and reside in a location with cooler temps, you too can stay stylish and comfortable.

Check out these arrangements of boots we hand selected to give you some style inspiration powered by shopstyle! Now go out and stay warm yet chic!

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RHOA’s Kenya Moore plans in vitro baby via sperm donor “Fashion Queen’s” Miss Lawrence?

This year, expect to see a new baby from one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta  cast members. No not soon to be newlywed Kandi Burruss.  The show resident Gone with the Wind Fabulous diva, Kenya Moore.

The former Miss USA told Life and Style magazine recently that she is preparing to undergo in vitro fertilization.
“I plan on having a baby next year,” the exercise DVD producer said last December. “Within the next six months, I hope to be pregnant.”
The gorgeous cast member, who is the nemesis to past Bellyitch Bumpwatch mom Phaedra Parks, added that she may ask her hairstylist friend Miss Lawrence (who stars in BravoTV’s Fashion Queens)  or a mystery man she is seeing to donate the sperm.
She could always do the anonymous donor route as Monica Cruz did last year. 

Last year,the  model and dancer, who is also the sister to actress Penelope Cruz, got pregnant via in vitro fertilization and an anon donor as well.

” To become pregnant, I turned to artificial insemination… I want to tell also so I can have the opportunity to show my thanks to all those anonymous men that give many women like me, the dream of their lives,” she explained to Spanish magazine Pais in January of her decision to come clean about her pregnancy in the press.

 The gorgeous 36-year old welcomed a daughter on May 14, a few months before sister Penelope welcomed her daughter on July 22 with her husband Javier Bardem.

Good Luck, Kenya! Either way, it will be a beautiful baby!

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11 Tips for Working while Pregnant

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a confusing one, especially as you try to strike a balance between your job and all of the physical, mental and emotional changes you’re going through. Achieving that balance can be difficult, but with these tips you can navigate your way through pregnancy and work with relative ease.
1. Keep safe snacks at your desk
Arguably one of the most difficult parts of pregnancy is the first trimester. Many women aren’t yet ready to spill the news about their pregnancy to their employers or coworkers, but morning sickness (that often is more aptly “all day sickness”) can tip off coworkers long before you actually break the news. To keep morning sickness at bay, keep bland snacks at your desk that you can snack on throughout the day. You can usually quell nausea with crackers and pretzels, and many women find that continual snacking helps relieve nausea.
2. Tell your employer
Before you break the news to your coworkers make sure to tell your employer, especially if you work in a small company. The last thing you want is for your employer to find out that you’re pregnant through the work gossip grapevine instead of directly from you. Your employer is also likely to be a little more understanding about frequent trips to the bathroom and a slight decrease in productivity if you’re up front and honest about your pregnancy and how your body is responding to it.
3. Be flexible
In today’s fast-paced society, many women feel the need to keep up the same frenetic pace that they maintained pre-pregnancy. Sometimes, however, you need to just slow down a little bit. Don’t be afraid to take a personal day if you’re really struggling one morning and you’re going to spend more time running back and forth to the bathroom than actually working. Try to juggle around your meetings if you know there’s a certain time of the day that’s particularly rough for you. Be flexible as your body adapts to pregnancy.

4. Learn when you need to say no
As much as you may want to, you’re not going to be able to do everything. You’re going to find you have less and less time outside of work to take on extra tasks as you prepare for the arrival of your baby. Learn when you need to say no instead of trying to take on extra projects even though you truly don’t have the time to fully dedicate yourself to them. This is not the time to be continually stressed over projects that you didn’t actually need to agree to do.
5. Listen to your body
Your body is going through a myriad of changes throughout your entire pregnancy. Listen to your body during this time! If you find yourself getting sleepy during the work day, take a short break and walk around. If you’re getting dizzy because you haven’t eaten enough, get a small snack. Hydrate throughout the day. Take mini mental breaks. Cut yourself some slack from time to time.
6. Find ways to stay comfortable throughout the day
As your body changes you’re going to find that you’re less and less comfortable throughout the day, especially if your job requires you to sit or stand a lot. Find ways to make yourself more comfortable. Ditch the four-inch heels in favor of flats, buy maternity clothes that fit instead of trying to squeeze into your pre-pregnancy pants, invest in a seat cushion – anything that can help increase your comfort levels while helping you continue to maintain your work professionalism will be well worth the investment.
7. Plan your doctor’s appointments wisely
Doctor’s appointments are an inevitable part of pregnancy. From regular appointments with your OB to different blood tests, you’re going to find yourself in quite a few waiting rooms during the next nine months. Try to plan your appointments so that they fit into your work day, not detract from them. If possible, locate a doctor close to your workplace. Schedule appointments for early in the morning, after you leave work for the day or over your lunch break, and avoid scheduling them on days that you know are stacked with meetings or conference calls.
8. Review your company’s maternity leave policy and plan accordingly
Every company is different when it comes to maternity leave. Depending on your company’s policy, you could be looking at fully paid leave, unpaid leave, or something in between. You could have six weeks, or you could have 12. Since there is no hard rule regarding maternity leave, it’s important to find out well in advance what your company’s policy is so that you are able to plan accordingly.
9. Figure out what your work plan is post-pregnancy
Are you planning on going back to work full-time after you have your baby, or are you going to stay at home? Will your employer let you work part-time, or even remotely? There is no right or wrong answer for how you handle employment post-pregnancy, only what’s right for you and your family. Once you do figure out what your post-pregnancy employment plans are, discuss them with your employer. Be up front about what you want to do, that way they have time to find a suitable replacement if you aren’t’t planning on coming back, or you can iron out the logistics of working from home, working part-time or easing back into full-time work.
10. Come up with a game plan for when you go on maternity leave
Before you leave the office to go on maternity leave you need to make sure that you have everything in order so that whoever is filling in for you knows exactly what to do. Tie up as many loose ends as possible, delegate work as needed and create detailed lists so that anyone is able to easily pick up where you’ve left off. This will not only make it easier for anyone filling in for you, it will also make it easier once you re-enter the workplace.
11. Start thinking about childcare
For many expecting moms, the thought of securing childcare is very stressful. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Start doing your research early, including evaluating your options and your budget, and you’ll be well on your way to making the right childcare choice for your family. If you’re considering a nanny, give yourself at least four weeks to conduct your nanny search.

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