January 31, 2009

Boy’s Big, Wrapped Birthday Present

This is very cute… and touching…

Gabriel Hurles’ sixth birthday party wasn’t a surprise, but his present sure was. The kindergartner was so engrossed in the cupcakes his mother brought to his class on Wednesday that he didn’t notice the enormous wrapped box off to the side.

“That’s one big, giant present,” a 6-year-old classmate told him. “See what you got, Gabriel.”

Gabriel peeled back the wrapping paper to find the surprise of his young life — his father, an Army mechanic back in Nevada on leave from his second tour in Iraq.

“It’s my dad!” he announced to his classmates at Sutro Elementary School in Dayton, a few miles northeast of Carson City. “Hi, Daddy.”

continued

January 30, 2009

46 Medical Staff, One Woman, 7 Babies

Or was it really 7?

Dr. Harold Henry and his colleagues had followed their patient for 10 weeks, and knew just what to expect. The woman was carrying seven babies. Multiple ultrasounds confirmed it every time: 7 heads, 7 spines and 28 limbs, all packed into a space typically only several centimeters in diameter.

“Each time, we thought we were validating that there were in fact seven babies,” said Dr. Henry, the chief of maternal and fetal medicine at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in southern California.

But when the time for delivery came on Monday morning, there was one wrinkle. After the seventh baby was plucked from the womb, an assistant announced that he felt another foot.

“Quit joking,” Dr. Henry shot back.

continued…

January 29, 2009

Hyper-parenting and the taste of crow?

The source of my most recent humbling is a pledge made several years ago that I would never hyper-parent my children.

Hyper-parenting, you may recall, is the term coined years ago by a psychiatrist describing parents who over-schedule their children in an attempt to enrich their lives. They drag them from one activity to another, always keeping something on the schedule.

As it turns out, experts say this is bad for both the children and their parents. I frequently belittled those parents and felt quite superior in my parenting skills. I hesitate to go so far as to call myself supercilious, but I was knocking at its door.

Full story: Dad has to eat his words about parenting … again

January 27, 2009

Salmonella Outbreak Worrisome

Nancy Shute, expert writer on all things parenting for US News and World Report, has just described the current salmonella outbreak as the ’scariest’ she’s ever seen. Her fears don’t stem from the number of people sickened (491 and counting) or killed (seven so far) or the widespread geographical scope of the outbreak (43 states and Canada). Her concern is for the extremely large number of common supermarket items that are made from peanuts, peanut butter, or peanut paste.

Many items under suspicion of contamination are common products easily kept at room temperature, don’t require cooking, and are packaged to make them so easy to keep handy. Those same characteristics create an ideal living environment for the bacteria that is making so many people so sick.

Full story: Parenting Expert Says Current Salmonella Outbreak is ‘Scariest’ Ever

January 26, 2009

Sharing Bed With Infants A Bad Idea

The rate of accidental suffocation deaths among babies increased fourfold over the past two decades, according to a new study, despite a national campaign to encourage safe infant sleeping.

Authors of the study, which appears today in the journal Pediatrics, say the nationwide increase probably is the result of more thorough investigations and changes in how deaths are classified. Nevertheless, the researchers and local medical experts said the figures reflect a continuing problem and highlight concerns about whether babies should sleep in the same beds as their parents or siblings.

“These deaths are likely preventable,” said Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, an epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of the study. “So this problem is ongoing, and we should not divert our attention. … We need an infusion of more efforts to make them reduce further.”

Researchers have long studied Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a term that refers to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a medical investigation. Shapiro-Mendoza’s study sought to find out if a newer, more specific category of infant death – by strangulation or suffocation – was increasing.

Full story: Don’t share bed with infant, parents told