Category Archives: in the news


You may have seen my home school district in The Word on the Colbert Report this past week or in excellent coverage in national newspapers. Wake County is the largest school system in North Carolina, and one of the largest in the nation, with a good reputation both locally and nationwide. I’m grateful for the education I received there, but right now, I’m frustrated and ashamed. Continue reading

Recent Clips

All Joy & No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting. It weaves around but is ultimately a really fascinating read about happiness, purpose and parenting.

I’m a trendsetter, apparently. Why the Next Pop Culture Wave Might Be Libraries.

After Haiti: The Chaos of U.S. Adoptions
An in-depth look at some of the expedited adoptions post-earthquake that brings up some very important questions about international adoption I’ve been wrestling with for a long time. Why are people giving up their children in the third world? What is the best way we can intervene? For the record, “orphan” doesn’t necessarily mean what it does to us around the world. To the U.N. if you’ve lost (or never were connected to) one parent, you are an orphan. In some countries, it is applied to any child who is abandoned.

The SlingRider is RECALLED!

This is a great day for babywearing. The Infantino SlingRider is being recalled. That seems strange, but its true. Babywearers want mothers to use slings SAFELY. The SlingRider was impossible to use safely, and they were in every big box store, the most accessible “sling” to the general public. For over three years, Infantino has been warned of the danger. They’ve finally caved, but not until a MILLION of these carriers were sold. You probably know someone with one. The wrap and tie carrier they are offering in exchange is much safer. It’s a copy of a mom-made design, and mass produced, and not “perfect”, but it’s safe. Pass the word on.

The Streak

This beautiful story from this week’s New York Times is a must-read for parents. Life presented all sorts of complications, but one father and daughter let books bind them together, and kept up a streak of 3,218 nights of reading at least ten minutes, all the way through high school.

Are Slings Dangerous?

You might have seen the CPSC warning about slings last week. As a certified volunteer babywearing educator (through Babywearing International) I wanted to give my two cents. If you’ve ever been to a local meeting here or met up with me in person and talked about slings in the last three years, I’ve mentioned infant safety. NONE of this information is new in the babywearing community. Common sense is key. Our local group issued a press release that summarized our thoughts and general warnings to parents that we routinely give, with some easy guides you can use and pass on. You CAN use slings safely. You need to be aware of your infant’s positioning and breathing. If your child was premature or is at risk for breathing problems, be extra cautious. And NEVER ever use the Infantino Sling Rider or other “bag-style” carriers that bury a baby deep in a pouch and don’t allow you to position them safely.

NY Times Clips

Some of my favorite articles lately:

Freda Rosenfeld is The Breast Whisperer.

God said be fruitful and multiply and Yitta certainly did.

Where the Bar Ought to Be is an opinion piece about education, and how excellent, passionate teachers make the difference.

New Math On Campus

I love that my alma mater is the center of this story in the new york times about male-female ratios on the college campus.


Making College “Relevant” When students see college as mere vocational training, the liberal arts die.

Did Christianity Cause the Crash? Hanna Rosin continues her tradition of boundary pushing with this article on the prosperity gospel and the recession for the Atlantic.

Home is a Tiny Plastic Bunk How the recession has affected some in Toyko.

Indie Sweethearts Pitching Products A discussion of some of the random people pitching random things in commercials. Like Ellen Page representing Cisco and those ubiquitous Luke Wilson ads for AT&T.

No U.S. Combat-Related Deaths in Iraq in December Good news is good news, even if troops are scaling back.


Links that have caught my eye this week:

+ Our friend Jon Black sent us an awesome early Christmas present of some Christmas music he created with other friends. He said we could share with our friends, too, so I am going to highly recommend you download this. I have enjoyed it immensely.

+ USA Today ran a piece about multi-site churches in their weekend edition. I liked seeing the contrast between Tim Keller, who has held out against video messages, and the rest of the movement.

+ How children best learn to read is a well researched and hotly debated topic. How they acquire basic math skills is not so much. I enjoyed this story in the New York Times about current neuroscience research regarding math.

+ The 2000-2009 Photoshop of Horrors Hall of Shame. As a parent of two young girls, these sorts of things make me livid.

+ Noughtyisms: some words coined this decade collected by the Guardian. The list is more than a little cheeky and may not be appropriate for young readers. One of my favorites: nom de womb.

In Which I Express an Opinion on a Current Controversy

Last week a mother lost her son. As a parent it always saddens me to hear when another parent has to bury a child. It’s one of the most classic examples of how things are not the way they are supposed to be.

This story has turned into a controversy. The controversy has mostly centered on whether or not it is appropriate to tweet about an emergency in the midst of it. If your community is online, it makes perfect sense to me. But that wasn’t the aspect of the story that most moved me to address it.

This child’s death was an accident and a tragedy. I would never say otherwise. However, I think parents should take pause to hear that his mother tweeted five or six times in the eight minutes proceeding the 911 call (about everyday matters) while also caring for her backyard chickens. Are we neglecting our kids to get a quick rush from a well-turned tweet or check up on someone we don’t really care about on facebook? How are we showing our children they matter more to us than our keyboards and smartphones?

Let’s not forget that the relationships that take the hardest work are the ones that bring us the most joy and fulfillment over the long haul.

Hark, the Sound

Wish I were on Franklin Street celebrating tonight. Congratulations, Tar Heels! And congratulations to Reba, who won the TCL annual pool, and continued the girls’ winning streak.

The Case Against Breastfeeding?

Moms all over the internet are chattering about Hanna Rosin’s Atlantic article “The Case Against Breastfeeding” and after a few days of thinking it over, here’s some of my musings.

.1. The most significant problem to me isn’t breastfeeding itself, but the mommy culture of competition and venomous judgment. Taking good things (breastfeeding, organic food, natural toys, whatever) and making them a barometer for deciding who is and who isn’t a good mother turns the good things toxic. What we need most is to be for one another, and encourage one another. Parenting is full of choices, and we don’t all have to make the same ones. Even if we agree something is an ideal, we all fall short of the ideal in many ways, and we have to extend grace to one another and ourselves.

.2. The scientific argument that Rosin makes wasn’t that compelling to me as I followed her rabbit trails. So, breastfeeding doesn’t prevent childhood obesity. That wasn’t my primary reason for breastfeeding anyway. The study she cites of the sibling pairs is much more nuanced than she makes it out to be. As breastfeeding is the natural choice (“human milk for human babies”) isn’t the burden of proof on formula and not breastmilk?

.3. Breastfeeding for many women is difficult, especially in the early weeks. My first month with Kate was full of stress and tears. But once we got over that hump, it was a wonderful experience. Perhaps the struggle at the onset is so that new moms stop and rest and take care of themselves, we’ll never know, but it helped me to appreciate the gift of breastfeeding and not to take it for granted. Nursing did forge an amazing bond between the children and me. In all my busy-ness and bustle, I appreciated the reminder to stop and enjoy my baby, and breastfeeding was a regular way to do that. It was a sacrifice at times, but so are many parts of parenting, it comes with the territory. Maybe I have a hard time identifying with Rosin because nursing itself was never ever an overwhelming burden to me, nor did it feel like just another duty. Perhaps it’s those endorphins, but breastfeeding calmed and centered me and now that it’s over, I miss it.

.4. I do appreciate her thoughts on part-time breastfeeding. A lot of breastfeeding advocates are very afraid of supplementing with formula, as we have all known mothers for whom supplementing was a slippery slope of diminished milk supply. But we have also all known mothers for whom supplementation works just fine! As mothers’ milk production varies widely, what works for one, may not for another. Thus part-time breastfeeding might not be the “best practice” in the sense that for those with tenuous supply issues it might be harmful, but it’s certainly not a bad idea in and of itself.

.5. If breastfeeding itself after a good college try is causing a mother to be extremely stressed out and not enjoy her child, I would be the first to say to lay down the idol and pick up the bottle. It’s not worth that. All things being equal (without extenuating health problems, etc.) I found breastfeeding to be much simpler and less time consuming than all the steps necessary to make a bottle and feed the baby that way. So I was flummoxed by her arguments about breastfeeding not being free, as a mothers’ time is worth a lot, etc.

.6. Is breastfeeding really to blame for employers not being supportive of working moms pumping? Let’s place the blame squarely where it belongs, with the government, employers and society’s views of breastfeeding in general.