Posted in Uncategorized

Breastfeeding: it’s bad for business! | First Dog on the Moon

Why would the USA oppose a resolution to promote breastfeeding?

First Dog on … breastfeeding!

Read more:

Share this on:
Follow by Email
Posted in Uncategorized

In honor of Father’s Day, 11 unforgettable books about being a dad

Image: Mashable Composite

In pop culture, fathers are too frequently portrayed as the bumbling parent who ruins things that moms then have to come fix. But being a dad is far more complicated (and beautiful, and terrifying, and everything else).

For anyone tired of overly simplistic representations of dads, we have good news: Literature is really great at painting more dynamic portraits of fatherhood.

Some books are rueful meditations on father/son relationships, while others are hilarious dives into parenting misadventures. Still others demonstrate how meaningful a found family can be. But no matter what tone and types of characters are featured, books are here to show us there’s no one way to be a dad. In fact, there are infinite ways.

Here are 11 books that showcase the weird, wonderful, unforgettable phenomenon we know as fatherhood.

Image: Penguin Press


Dads give the best presents, but Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard really takes the cake with his book Autumn. It’s a collection of brief meditations that attempt to capture what makes the world beautiful, all written for Knausgaard’s unborn daughter, his fourth child. “You will experience things for yourself and live a life of your own, so of course it is primarily for my own sake that I am doing this: showing you the world, little one, makes my life worth living,” Knausgaard writes in the book’s intro. You know that phrase, “I wish I could give you the world”? That’s exactly what Knausgaard is trying to do for his daughter, and no, we’re not crying, YOU’RE crying.

Image: Harper Collins

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces

It’s not the big moments, but rather the small things of everyday life that carry the most weight. In his book Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, Michael Chabon tries to capture those glimpses that make fatherhood so extraordinary. The book opens with Chabon’s famous GQ essay about watching his son fully embrace himself at Paris Fashion Week, and expands from there with 6 other essays about fatherhood. There is no other way to say this: Michael Chabon is just a fucking phenomenal writer. Whether you’re a dad yourself or reflecting on your relationship with your own father, Chabon’s writing about parenting will tug at your heartstrings. (Bonus: If you want another gorgeous meditation on fatherhood, be sure to read Chabon’s “The Recipe for Life,” an essay about his own dad, published in The New Yorker.)

An American Marriage

Much has been said about Tayari Jones’ critically acclaimed An American Marriage, and for good reason — the book does emotional gymnastics as readers dive into the complex relationship between Celestial and Roy, a newly married couple separated after Roy is wrongly incarcerated. But in addition to dealing with amorous love, the book also carries a very important theme of fatherhood. Roy is raised by a stepdad, but (*spoiler alert*) he unexpectedly meets his biological father in prison in the middle of the novel. As Roy meditates on his life and what he’s learned from each of those men, An American Marriage explores what it means to be a dad in America today.


It’s turtles all the way down when it comes to portraying parenthood in Paul Harding’s novel Tinkers. The book opens with one father on his death bed, thinking about his relationship with his father. Then, as the narrative progresses, Harding flashes back to the dad’s relationship with his dad. The result is a novel that, in just under 200 pages, captures generations of father/son dynamics and the complex ways we conform and rebel against our dads. Connecting it all is some incredible prose about family and growing up.

Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood

Here’s the secret that nobody tells you about parenthood: Sometimes it can be a complete shitshow. It’s that truth that Drew Magary hopes to document in his parenthood memoir, Someone Could Get Hurt. The book is a collection of tales from Magary’s experiences as a dad, ranging from “getting drunk while trick-or-treating and telling dirty jokes to make bath time go smoothly to committing petty vandalism to bond with a 5-year-old.” Mashable’s Marcus Gilmer says Someone Could Get Hurt is a “raw, honest, sometimes crude and hilarious account of parenthood with a heart at its center.”

To Kill a Mockingbird

Has there been a more iconic dad to grace the pages of a book than Atticus Finch, the unforgettable father in To Kill a Mockingbird? Atticus is wise in his own right, but it’s his willingness to let Scout and Jem explore, fail, and learn from their mistakes that takes him to the next level. That’s not to say he’s an absent father. Just the opposite: Atticus always has his eye on his kids and their learning, and he delivers key lessons about kindness, empathy, and justice throughout the novel. It’s this compassion and wisdom that makes Atticus such an iconic literary dad. (The elephant in the room is Go Set a Watchman, where Atticus is old, mean, and racist. But that’s an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, so I don’t count it as Harper Lee canon.)

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

Hannah Tinti’s The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is a novel about the lengths we’d go to in order to protect our family. The book follows Loo and her father, the titular Samuel Hawley, as they settle into a provincial New England town. Not all is as it seems, however. Though Hawley is quiet, he has a dark past as a smuggler, and his decision to move is an attempt to escape ghosts of his former life of crime that are coming to haunt him. The novel tracks Samuel Hawley’s past (the 12 lives alluded to in the novel) alongside Hawley’s efforts to give Loo a normal childhood. Sure, he may not be a traditional dad, but one thing is sure: He loves his daughter more than anything.

The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is a quietly divisive novel. After a literally explosive beginning, the novel follows Theo, a boy who accidentally steals a painting from the Met, as he grows up. The second half of the book turns into a fast-paced art heist novel, in stark contrast to the coming-of-age story we begin with. One of the most unforgettable sections in the book, though, is about Theo’s time in the West Village with gay antiques collector Hobie. Hobie takes in Theo, who’s been orphaned after the bombing at the Met, as his own son. Though Hobie is dealing with his own grief, he becomes a kind and generous father figure for Theo. It’s this portrait of fatherhood and found family that gives The Goldfinch its grounding and its heart.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

You may be surprised to find Harry Potter on this list, especially considering how the novels deconstruct the myth of James Potter in the later books. But for anyone who says Harry Potter is not a series about fatherhood, I’ve got two words for you: Sirius Black. Despite having perhaps one of the most tragic character arcs of the series, Harry’s godfather Sirius remains a beacon of light shining from the HP Universe. He’s playful, he’s moody, he can transform into a dog, and, more than anything, he loves Harry. And though Sirius is the most notable father figure for Harry, with characters like Dumbledore, Hagrid, Mr. Weasley, and more, the Harry Potter series is filled with models of fatherhood in all forms.


A Wrinkle in Time

A lot of weird stuff happens in A Wrinkle in Time. Like, waaaaay more weird stuff than you remember. As the Wallace children (and Calvin) journey to rescue Meg’s dad, they meet darkness incarnate, an evil brain, and a giant, faceless creature named “Aunt Beast.” But at the core of the Wallace’s journey through space and time is Meg’s steadfast love and devotion to her father, who is willing to risk it all to protect his children. Even when he’s not at home, the mere memory of Mr. Wallace gives Meg courage, which is why he’s one of literature’s best dads.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Jesymn Ward’s National Book Award-winning novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, is a coming-of-age story filled with ghosts. The book follows Jojo and his mom Leonie as they journey to pick up Jojo’s father from prison. As the novel dives into the way we all must confront our pasts, Sing, Unburied, Sing provides a raw look at a vulnerable family trying to stay together despite the challenges they face. Included is Jojo’s grandfather, Pop, a stoic figure who serves as a foundation for the family — but also has his own story to tell.

Read more:

Share this on:
Follow by Email
Posted in Uncategorized

Playing pool with this trusty augmented reality projector should be the only way it’s done from now on

A family may be responsible for a pricey statue their child knocked it over at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas.

According to Sarah Goodman, the child’s mother, the incident occurred last month at a wedding reception, local outlet KSHB reports

A security cam captured the whole thing, and shows the kid hug the statue before walking away. The child later returns to the statue, and appears to hang onto it. The statue falls over, and the young boy goes along with it. 

The statue was not barricaded in any way.

“We heard a bunch of commotion and I thought, ‘Whose yelling at my son?’” Goodman said. “This glass mosaic torso is laying on the ground and someone is following me around demanding my personal information.”

Eventually the family received a letter from an insurance company saying they were responsible for the statue because they neglected to monitor their children. 

“My children are well supervised but all people get distracted,” Goodman told KSHB. 

In her defense Goodman brings up a good point — why was this super expensive statue that could easily be toppled just sitting there without even a rope around it?

“It’s in the main walkway. Not a separate room. No plexiglass. Not protected. Not held down,” she said. “There was no border around it. There wasn’t even a sign around it that said, ‘Do not touch.’”

Sean Reilly, a spokesperson for the City of Overland Park claims the sculpture was never meant to be touched, and said there’s a “societal responsibility that you may not interact with it if it’s not designed for interaction.” 

“It was a piece that was loaned to us that we are responsible for. That’s public money,” Reilly said. “We are responsible to protect the public investment.”

One may argue that the “societal responsibility” to keep a child safe from a statue that could easily topple over is more important than protecting a piece of art.

Goodman said she’s attempting to see if her homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of the statue, adding that the 132,000 price tag is “completely astronomical.”

Read more:

Share this on:
Follow by Email
Posted in Uncategorized

Mum loses son over Bob the Builder car

Image caption Judge ruled there was “a potential risk of the boy falling if the woman lost control of him” as he sat in the toy car

A nurse has had her one-year-old son taken from her after a social worker said the way she let him sit in a Bob the Builder toy car was “inappropriate” for his age.

The social worker told a private family court hearing in Reading she had concerns about the woman’s “basic parenting skills”.

She said the woman had also not fed her son or changed his nappy appropriately.

Judge Eleanor Owens ruled the boy should live with relatives.

She added the child would be able to stay in touch with his mother, who she described as having an “extremely low range” of intellectual ability.

‘Potential risk’

The social worker described how she had watched the woman “spend about an hour holding the boy who was sitting in the Bob the Builder car”.

She said the mother “maintained limited eye contact and communication” and that the toy car was “inappropriate” for his age because there was “a potential risk of the boy falling if the woman lost control of him”.

Judge Owens said all professionals involved were concerned about the woman’s “lack of insight” and “ability to meet the needs of the boy”.

She said the social worker had “highlighted” some of those concerns.

“These include…not feeding the boy in an appropriate position, not changing his nappy appropriately, and placing his nappy changing mat very close to a metal table leg when he was moving around on the mat,” the judge explained in her ruling.

Related Topics

Read more:

Share this on:
Follow by Email
Posted in Uncategorized

I didnt understand male privilege until I became a stay-at-home dad.

When my wife returned to work after parental leave, I took my first trip to the grocery with two kids.

Little did I know I would return home feeling like a hero.

On a Monday morning, I pushed the green cart with flame decals through the second set of sliding doors and toward the deli. My 3-year-old son was strapped in the seat and my 3-month-old son was wrapped against my chest.

As a stay-a-home father strolling through the grocery, I felt conflicting emotions — love for caring for my sons and frustration with being an unemployed 37-year-old man.

At the deli, I exchanged pleasantries with a young woman behind the counter and ordered a pound of sliced turkey breast. I was immediately surrounded by a group of female employees. They leaned close to admire my infant son as he raised his bald head from the green cloth wrap.

“I never could get mine to like the wrap,” one said.

“I bet y’all have so much fun together,” another said.

“You are the best dad ever,” another said.

I swelled with pride. Maybe theyre right! Maybe I am the best dad ever.

I soaked in the praise before tossing my sliced turkey into the cart and heading toward the produce.

As I strolled, more comments came from fellow shoppers, and I absorbed them, giving little thought to the reason why I merited heightened attention.

“Nice baby wearing,” a young woman said.

“That is one way to keep ’em warm,” an elderly woman said.

“Man, you are taking this dad thing to the next level,” a bag boy at checkout said.

The series of verbal high-fives inflated my ego and, after receiving the receipt from the cashier, I smiled and pushed our flaming green cart through the sliding doors like a rock star walking offstage.

I had no clue I was benefiting from male privilege.

I enjoy the attention I receive as a stay-at-home dad; it’s nice to have impressed eyes turned on me.

My rationale for basking in the compliments is that I spend most of my time wading through dirty diapers, spit-up, and spilled Cheerios. I deserve some praise, right?

I thought so, until one Sunday morning I sipped coffee and read an article (a rare kids-free moment in the kitchen) about faux male feminists. The article included comments from Tal Peretz, a sociology professor at Auburn University, who described a concept called “the pedestal effect.”

As I read, my male privilege became uncomfortably visible. The pedestal effect refers to when men receive undeserved praise, attention, and rewards for performing work traditionally done by women, like carrying a baby in a wrap.

At the grocery store, I willingly stepped on the pedestal and used my privilege to gain attention for basic child care.

And as I reflected on Peretz’s words, other pedestal moments flashed in my mind. This realization was not something I could ignore.

If you believe in gender equality, it is not hard to understand why it is problematic to place one gender on a pedestal for doing the bare minimum, while another bears the bulk of the child care. Not only is it unfair, but it’s also not in the best interests of families and can place stress on them when parenting roles are unbalanced.

For men who value gender equality and healthy families, assisting in lowering the pedestal is imperative.

After reading Peretz’s comments, I wrestled with how to respond and, hopefully, how to help other dads become more aware of this privilege. I reached out to him to discuss the pedestal effect, and he offered practical ways to counter male privilege.

He reminded me of the complexity of privilege and how it operates on different levels — individual, interpersonal, institutional and structural.

We cannot dismantle institutions and structures by ourselves, but we can start with naming our privilege and giving credit to women wherever it is due.

Naming our privilege through raising awareness is a good place to begin, because men have been socialized to interact with women in particular ways, and it can be difficult for us to see how we are perpetuating gender inequality.

Peretz recommends using resources such as privilege checklists to identify your advantages. These resources can help us move unconscious thoughts and behaviors into the light of awareness. Ideally, this work will lead to interpersonal change.

Men can make the effort to closely listen to women to understand how they perceive male privilege. And, most importantly, we need to believe women.

Maybe you remain skeptical that a pedestal effect exists for fathers. Ask a mother whether she believes fathers benefit from undeserved praise. Her answer might surprise you. Men get attention and praise for doing work women do every day.

Raising awareness and listening are important steps, but I also wanted to know how to best respond when given undeserved attention.

Peretz recommends reacting “with humility and a sense of humor,” while bringing attention and awareness back to the work women have been doing for a long time.

For example, at the deli, I could have redirected the conversation. I could’ve used one of these playful responses suggested by Peretz: “Yeah, I’m really glad that my wife did all the heavy lifting of pregnancy and childbirth so I’d get to enjoy this little monster,” or “I really appreciate that, but it’s nothing my mom didn’t have to do for me!”

I want to do a better job of stepping off the pedestal and challenging sexist beliefs about parenting.

I want to better align myself with the women who have been doing this work for generations and assist them in creating more balanced roles within families. And I want to share the most important lesson I’ve learned while reflecting on this issue, which is that not only should I do this work because it is the right thing to do, but also because I need it.

Men need to be liberated from the rigid forms of masculinity that create a pedestal in the first place. Only when we step off them can we hope to be free.

This story originally appeared in the On Parenting section of The Washington Post and is reprinted here with permission.

Read more:

Share this on:
Follow by Email
Posted in Uncategorized

First pets around the world: Puppies, bunnies — or beetles

(CNN)The man had desperation in his eyes while his three children held an ailing puppy in their arms. At that moment, Sean Owens knew that he had to help.

Owens, a veterinarian and professor of clinical pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, was doing volunteer work in the Baja region of Mexico in 2014 when the man came to him in hopes Owens could treat his children’s sick puppy.

Parenting Without Borders considers how parenting trends and methods differ — or don’t — around the world.

“His family had a special bond with this animal, especially their kids. The father looked at me, and the look he gave — without us speaking Spanish together — basically said, ‘I love my children; my child loves this dog; what can you do?’ ” Owens said.
    “I realized that the puppy had parvovirus, which tends to be fatal if you don’t have a thousand dollars or more to treat the animal in a hospital,” he said. “So we started an IV. I gave the dog antibiotics, and I gave it fluids. I sent it home with them, and I came back for three days in a row, and we treated it. The puppy lived.”
    A few years later, during another trip to Mexico, Owens saw that father again.
    “It’s a small town where we are, and he came over — still I spoke very little Spanish; he spoke very little English — and he reached out and shook my hand. He had tears in his eyes,” Owens said. “This was a hard-core farmer guy, salt of the earth guy, not the kind of guy who cries. He’s almost like an American cowboy figure, and he said, ‘gracias.’ He said ‘thank you’ in Spanish, and I thanked him as well.”
    Families, like that man’s in Mexico, can develop a special kind of bond with the animals in their lives, but the type of animals in a household can vary, depending on where the family lives.
    Of course, state by state and country by country, there are also rules and regulations governing the types of animals families can integrate into their homes, both for the family’s and animal’s safety and well-being and for the local environment if the animal somehow enters the wild.
    Here is a sampling of the animals that some children around the world grow up with.

    Crickets in China and rabbits on the rise

    “Having goldfish are very common around the world, or koi, freshwater fish. People have, to a certain extent, birds and reptiles and beetles are popular in Japan as sort of a trendy animal,” Owens said.
    In particular, stag beetle collections fuel a large and lucrative market in Japan, involving more than 700 species from all over the world, with more than 15 million specimens imported a year, according to a study published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation in 2012.

      ‘Miracle workers’? Meet the therapy animals of Portland

    In certain regions of Australia, wallabies may become part of a family if the animal needs care as a victim of a road accident or dog attack, or as an orphan of such events. Often, a permit is required to care for such injured or rescued wildlife.
    One study published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science in 2016 found that the agile wallaby, or Macropus agilis, was suitable to be kept as a pet.
    The study analyzed behavioral needs, welfare, human relationship risks and overall “pet suitability” among 90 wild mammal species selected based on data from vet visits, petting zoos, animal shelters and rescue centers in the Netherlands.
    Of those species, the following were judged suitable to be kept as a pet: Sika deer, agile wallaby, tammar wallaby, llama and Asian palm civet, the study found.
    “In China, people have crickets. Wherever you go, in restaurants and places like that, people will have these little cricket cages, and they’re seen as good luck,” he said. “But they’re not traditional pets, and all the kids that have been exposed to contemporary and popular media all want dogs and cats like we do.”
    Globally, ownership of pet rabbits appears to be on the rise — something that emerged in the late 20th century when rabbits began to be more commonly kept as indoor companions.
    In the United Kingdom, 24% of households own pet dogs, 17% own cats, 8% indoor fish, 2% rabbits, 2% guinea pigs, 1.5% reptiles, 1% domestic fowl and 1% hamsters, according to 2017 data from the UK Pet Food Manufacturers Association.
    An estimated 800,000 domestic rabbits are kept as companions in 2% of the world’s homes, making them the third — without including fish — most common pet companion animal after dogs and cats, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.
    In the United States, 36.5% of households own dogs, 30.4% own cats, 3.1% own birds and 1.5% horses, according to the latest pet ownership data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, published in 2012.
    According to those data, in 2011, about six out of 10 pet owners, or 63.2%, considered their pets to be family members.
    “I’ve seen parents come in with their kids, when I was in practice, and I’d watch the children play on the exam room floor with their dog or cat. They would tell me the dog or cat’s name. I would hear a story about them, and those were magical exam visits, because you’d see a child light up,” Owens said.

    Furry friends as status symbols

    In other parts of the world — including many Central American, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, European and African nations — cats and dogs are not as common in children’s homes as they are roaming the streets. Therefore, owning a pet is more of a luxury.
    In Istanbul, for instance, estimates for the numbers of street dogs range from 70,000 to 150,000. Meanwhile, in India, there are 25 million stray dogs.

      Reuniting soldiers with stray dogs

    Sometimes, street dogs can pass diseases, which has become a global public health concern. An estimated 59,000 people die from rabies around the world each year, with about 90% of these deaths occurring among children living in rural areas in Africa and Asia, according to the World Health Organization. It published new guidelines last month on rabies prevention, control and elimination with the help of immunizations.
    “The US culture and the way in which we grow up with dogs and cats and traditional pets is very, very different than the rest of the world,” Owens said, adding that when dogs do become part of a family, oftentimes, it can be for protection.
    A former veterinary resident from Uganda whom Owens taught at the UC Davis teaching hospital told Owens how the concept of a “good dog” differs dramatically in the United States compared with in his home country.
    “He said in Uganda, a good dog is a mean dog that’s on your property, doesn’t bite you but bites other people who try to steal your stuff,” Owens said. “Here, a good dog is a dog who doesn’t bite anybody.”
    Overall, in many countries, “resources are scarce, and it’s a challenge to provide the level of care that the people need and the animals need,” Owens said. For some families who can afford pets for their children, having a dog or cat can be something of a status symbol.
    “You can look at countries like China, where the veterinary market there is exploding because the middle class now has enough resources to be able to purchase pets,” he said. “If you have a dog, it suggests that you not only have enough money to take care of yourself, but now you have enough money to take care of something that sort of is an extravagance.”

    How to prepare for a family pet

    The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some precautions to take before getting a pet as a companion for your child and suggests waiting until your child is mature enough to handle and care for the animal.
    The precautions also include looking for a pet with a gentle disposition, never leaving a young child alone with an animal, teaching children not to put their faces too close to the animal, not allowing children to tease the pet by pulling its tail or taking away its toys or bone, and making sure your pet is immunized against rabies.
    The academy also notes to make sure your child doesn’t disturb the animal when it’s sleeping or eating.
    If your child has been begging for a dog, “with a grain of salt, read about different breeds. There are some animals that are better with children than others,” said Bernard Rollin, distinguished professor of philosophy, biomedical sciences and animal sciences at Colorado State University.
    He added that parents thinking about a pet for their children should consider adopting from shelters.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    “In some ways, there’s a big debate about whether you should adopt a puppy or an older dog, and there are advantages to both. If you adopt a puppy, you’ve got to housebreak, you have to train, et cetera. On the other hand, you get to mold that dog a little bit more,” Rollins said.
    “When you adopt an adult dog, you’re getting a package you don’t necessarily know what’s inside, but you don’t have to house train and so forth, and a lot of shelters have the previous owner write up a detailed account of that dog,” he said. “The bottom line is, there are so many wonderful animals in shelters.”

    Read more:

    Share this on:
    Follow by Email
    Posted in Uncategorized

    Tesco removes some ‘best before’ dates

    Image copyright Tesco

    Tesco is removing “best before” labels from many of its fresh produce lines, which it says will help reduce waste.

    The supermarket will remove the advice from about 70 pre-packaged produce lines to avoid “perfectly edible food” being thrown away.

    The items that will lose the label include apples, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons, other citrus fruit and onions.

    “Best before” labels indicate that the quality of a product may deteriorate after the date indicated.

    In contrast “use by” dates indicate when it becomes less safe to consume the food.

    “We know some customers may be confused by the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded,” said Mark Little, Tesco’s head of food waste.

    He said fruit and vegetables were among the food most frequently thrown away by consumers, although many are ignoring “best before” dates already.

    “Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the ‘best before’ date code on the packaging,” he added.

    What do food advice terms mean?

    • Use By – Cannot be sold, redistributed or consumed after this date. Applied to foods which are highly perishable – such as fresh fish, meat and poultry – and therefore constitute an immediate danger to human health
    • Best Before – Can be sold, redistributed and consumed after this date. Applied to all other kinds of food
    • Some products aren’t legally required to carry a date label
    • Only one date label is recommended for each food item

    Source: Wrap

    Tesco said removing the information on the label would encourage customers to make their own decisions about the freshness of produce.

    However, all the produce affected will be items sold in bags or boxes and so are less easy to handle. Individual items, such as loose lemons or onions, already do not carry “best before” labels.

    The supermarket said that although customers would no longer be able to differentiate between bags of produce to determine how fresh they were at purchase, there were “rigorous stock rotation procedures in place” to ensure older items did not remain on shelves.

    Consumer confusion

    Advice issued jointly last year by anti-waste campaign group Wrap, the Food Standards Agency and the Department for the Environment suggested fewer foods should be labelled with “use by” dates, including pasteurised fruit drinks and hard cheese. Greater use of “best before” dates should be encouraged, they suggested.

    But a recent survey by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes found that less than half of respondents understood what “best before” means.

    However, more than 70% had a clear understanding of “use by” labels.

    Last year, the East of England Co-op, which is separate from the national Co-operative chain, began selling dried and tinned products that were beyond their “best before” dates at knock-down prices.

    Justine Roberts, founder of parenting website Mumsnet, said: “Mumsnet users are keen not to waste food or, just as importantly, money.

    “When it comes to ‘best before’ dates, most parents on Mumsnet take very little notice. Sad-looking veg often ends up in the slow cooker, leftover portions are put in the freezer for pot-luck nights, bread gets grated for breadcrumbs.”

    Read more:

    Share this on:
    Follow by Email
    Posted in Uncategorized

    The children confused by love

    Image caption Diane says her daughter “can’t cope if she’s not the centre of my world”

    Children who have suffered abuse and neglect can often become violent and distressed at the thought of being loved, developing attachment issues. Some adoptive parents say they are left unprepared and unsupported when trying to care for them.

    “Her anxiety level can go through the roof,” Diane tells the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. “Trying to go through the school door into the classroom she can have a panic attack.”

    Diane and her partner Adrian adopted their daughter, along with her brother, two years ago.

    Both had been neglected by their birth parents, which is thought to have led to their daughter having severe attachment issues.

    “She can’t cope if she’s not the centre of my world,” explains Diane – whose full name we are not using for safeguarding reasons.

    “She either has a hissy fit or will do something like put a finger up her nose and make it bleed, so I have to stop what I’m doing and attend to her.”

    There are different forms of attachment issues, often down to trauma experienced during childhood.

    Many children are at first afraid of being loved, but then once shown affection, they are fearful of it going away.

    Diane’s daughter has now been diagnosed as having “anxious-ambivalent attachment”, which sees children become distressed when separated from their carer but also resist contact when the carer returns.

    On some days, Diane says, her daughter can be “clinging to the school railings sobbing her heart out, refusing to leave the school grounds” when she picks her up at home time.

    “So I end up sitting in the middle of the school driveway rocking her, with her sucking my finger like a dummy, me singing a lullaby, and all the other parents walking round me wondering what on earth I’m doing.”

    Image caption Adrian says they were given “limited” background information about the children when they adopted them

    It is estimated that three-quarters of the 70,000 children in the UK care system have suffered abuse or neglect.

    This leaves them more likely to develop behavioural problems, fall behind at school, and in later life become alcohol or drug-dependent and go to prison.

    Adoptive parents, teachers and charities have all told the Victoria Derbyshire programme they believe many of the reasons these problems develop is because the children have attachment issues and their behaviour is misunderstood.

    They also say parents are not being prepared for this when they adopt.

    Adrian says that with their two children, “the background information we had was quite limited – it was more about the birth family than the children themselves”.

    It was a year before they were able to get the children assessed and for them to be seen by a therapist.

    “The only advice we were given was to go to parenting classes. But they’re for bad parents, not for parents who’ve adopted children with complex emotional needs.”


    Image copyright Getty Images
    • Forty per cent of children have some form of attachment issue, it’s estimated.
    • More than 10% of children have an avoidant attachment, because their parents were dismissive of them. They can be clingy but also avoid physical contact by appearing to deal with their own distress.
    • Another 10% have an ambivalent attachment, which develops as a result of inconsistent parenting. These children become distressed when separated but also resist contact when a care-giver returns.
    • About 15% have a disorganised attachment, mainly resulting from abusive parents. They seek physical contact but approach it looking fearful. They often appear dazed or can completely freeze.
    • Attachment issues can also arise if a parent or young child becomes ill, such as through postnatal depression, or if a child’s parent dies.

    Another adoptive parent who felt “very let down by the system” was Daniela Shanly.

    She says that while her son’s mainstream school tried as hard as it could to support him, teachers did not have the training, resources or the time needed.

    “The first time teachers hear about [issues surrounding] attachment is when they have a child in their class whose needs they can’t understand,” she says.

    The Department for Education says schools “receive £2,300 of funding for each child adopted from care, to make sure they get the support from their education that they deserve”.

    “From September, schools will be required to appoint a designated teacher for children adopted from care to help them at school,” it adds.

    Image caption Daniela Shanly says mainstream teachers are not prepared for children with attachment issues

    Ms Shanly has now set up Beech Lodge School in Maidenhead, Berkshire, which is one of only a few schools in the UK that specialises in children with attachment issues.

    One of the school’s pupils is Mary. She was put into care at just three years old, and had two different foster families before being adopted.

    She is now 16 and recognises she had severe problems with attachment.

    Mary says her birth mother was violent towards her – an experience that left her “scared of the outside world”.

    “I didn’t want to be by myself – I was afraid something was going to happen to me. I just played up all the time.”

    Image caption Mary says she always feared she was going to be left alone

    Mary went to mainstream school but says she hated it.

    “Lots of people were being naughty, and I was naughty with them,” she explains, regretting her time there.

    “I always thought I was going to be left alone, so I just went against everyone’s idea to get me happy.”

    Now at Beech Lodge, she says she likes to go out and explore life – and even wants to begin travelling.

    ‘Unable to sleep’

    The charity Adoption UK says that while all adoptive families have the right to an assessment of their child’s needs, “this is often not happening, and where assessments are made, appropriate support is not always readily available”.

    “Adoptive families are passionate advocates for adoption, and are experts in parenting some of the UK’s most vulnerable children. We need to listen carefully to the things they tell us they need,” it adds.

    Diane and Adrian hope change will come soon.

    They say adopting their children was the best thing they have ever done but the experience has affected Diane’s mental health.

    “I’ve been put on anti-depressants for the first time ever in my life,” she says.

    It has also left her unable to sleep and she has quit her job.

    “Parents need respite, first and foremost,” she says. “This is an extremely difficult job.

    “But we also need access to proper funding so we can send our children to get proper therapy.”

    Watch the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

    Related Topics

    Read more:

    Share this on:
    Follow by Email
    Posted in Uncategorized

    Fixing the leaky pipeline for women in tech starts with those who left the workforce

    Image: Vicky Leta / Mashable

    This column is part of a series called “Voices of Women in Tech,” created in collaboration with, a global enterprise that supports women in technical fields, as well as the organizations that employ them and the academic institutions training the next generation.

    I could always pinpoint the exact moment of disappointment in the middle of a job interview, when the interviewer would discover the gap in my resume. “Oh,” they would say, “how are you going to get back up to speed?” The change in tone was palpable. I was no longer a candidate; I was a liability.

    Four years prior, I had made the decision to leave my technical project manager position in order to better support my family. As my 3-year-old son grew, he required more care than he had when he was baby, when his needs were met by simple acts of feeding, bathing, and snuggling. I knew I didn’t want to lose the best years with my child, who now needed me to be present in the moment, to be engaged, to have energy. But when I made the difficult decision to take a break, I never imagined that my career wouldn’t be waiting for me when I was ready to return.

    As I hit the pause button on my professional life, I planned to return to work when the time was right. But once I started my job hunt, I realized I had a harder road ahead of me. Interviewers would dwell on the skill sets they imagined I had lost, or the challenges they feared I would face when reintegrating into the workforce. It felt as though my past experience was deemed obsolete, even when I met all of the stated qualifications. My career pause had turned into my resume’s black eye.

    “My career pause had turned into my resume’s black eye.”

    Many working parents face re-entry issues, but the challenge can be more pronounced in the tech industry. According to research by and the Michelle R. Clayman Institute, “the mid-level is perhaps the most critical juncture for women on the technical career ladder, because it is here that a complex set of gender barriers converge.” Indeed, 56 percent of women at high-tech companies leave their organizations at this point. According to Harvard Business Review, of the women who voluntarily leave work, only 40 percent return to full-time professional jobs.

    With women leaving organizations at the mid-career level, it is no surprise that we have a shortage of women in senior positions. Only 5 percent of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women. The pipeline for women in technology to senior-level roles has a leak. Many companies are taking an innovative approach to supporting women in the workplace, especially women in the technology industry, through a new kind of initiative: “returnships.”

    Returnships are a type of internship program that provide a way for organizations to recruit and on-board mid-career men and women who have taken a break in their careers and want to re-enter the workforce. Most returnships include technical training, with some providing soft skill trainings and mentorship to help increase the returnees’ confidence. The nice part of returnships? You’re not starting at the bottom of your career all over again; instead, your skills and past experience are recognized as a part of the program for you to build from.

    More than 160 companies worldwide are investing in these types of programs as a way to meet the demands of this workforce. Nonprofit organizations like Path Forward partner with a variety of companies to offer mid-career paid programs to companies, which can provide resources and tools to help companies create their own returnship program.

    “Returnship programs let highly skilled workers rejoin the workforce — a critical benefit to companies looking to close the leaky pipeline and hiring gaps.”

    As a member of the first cohort of the Intuit Again program — the returnship program at Intuit, which led me to my current position of senior technical program manager at the company — I wasn’t sure what to expect. Having been a working professional before, I wasn’t looking to start all over, but I also recognized I could take the chance to upgrade my technical skills. When I started the program, I was surprised to further hone my skills in agile methodologies and be paired with a mentor who offered me guidance and coaching on re-entering the workforce. Oftentimes, it can be an isolating experience to start a new role, so the support from my mentor and manager made the transition easier. And even if I didn’t take a job at Intuit, the new technical and soft skills I learned gave me the confidence that I was still marketable. 

    Returnship programs let highly skilled workers rejoin the workforce — a critical benefit to companies looking to close the leaky pipeline and hiring gaps. By returning to work at similar levels to the roles they occupied before putting their careers on hold, these women technologists are able to continue up the career ladder and thrive in a supportive and inclusive environment. 

    There are early indicators that these programs are successful. Goldman Sachs, for example, stated that about half of its returnship participants now work full-time. At Intuit Again, about three-quarters of participants join Intuit full-time.

    As more organizations adapt to workforce changes, I’m encouraged to see more opportunities than ever before for those returning to work. For me, the sense of fulfillment and pride I receive from my career bleeds positively into all aspects of my life, including as a mother. 

    Asha Vade

    Asha Vade is a Senior Technical Program Manager for Intuit India, where she works with Java, Spring Boot, and AWS. Asha feels strongly about working on applications that drive…More

    Read more:

    Share this on:
    Follow by Email
    Posted in Uncategorized

    Dad Of 4 Girls Tweets Conversations With His Daughters, And Its Impossible Not To Laugh At Them (Part 2)

    Most parents photograph or film their children growing up, but James Breakwell (previously here and here) has another way of documenting the precious moments he shares with his 4 daughters. Since April 2016, the comedy writer and family man from Indianapolis uses Twitter to share the daily conversations he has with his girls.

    With over 1M followers and counting, James claims that his little ones love the attention. “They like what I do on Twitter mainly because it’s all about them,” Breakwell told Buzzfeed. “On one hand, Twitter makes me a better father because I spend more time with my kids. On the other hand, Twitter makes me a much worse father because I only do it to get more material.” Scroll down to check out why there’s so much buzz around the Breakwells and upvote your favorite tweets.

    Share this on:
    Follow by Email