Pre-chewing baby’s food just fine, experts say Baby Bear Blu tilts his head, and opens his lips like a little bird waiting for a worm. His mother, actress and celebrity vegan Alicia Silverstone, invites little Blu onto her sweatpant-clad lap. He leans in. She chews, passes a morsel of food from her mouth to his, then, as the 10-month-old gums it, she turns and smiles for the camera, pleased with herself.
The practice, called premastication, is nothing new — in many cultures, including some African and Inuit communities, premastication is commonplace — but the video has gone viral and a web dust-up has ensued.
Bad baby name could leave your child sadder, dumber: study A poorly chosen baby name can lead to a lifetime of neglect, reduced relationship opportunities, lower self-esteem, a higher likelihood of smoking and diminished education prospects, according to a new study of nearly 12,000 people.
The research, which appears in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, is thought to offer the firmest conclusions to date that “unfortunate” first names evoke negative reactions from strangers, which in turn influence life outcomes for the worse.
“There seems to be prejudice based on name valence [or associations],” says study co-author Wiebke Neberich, previously of the International Max Planck Research School.
“It’s a mostly unconscious process where all the associations we have with a particular name will pop up: [associations] from the newspapers, from stories and, of course, from our own history.”
In one of the researchers’ experiments, online daters whose names carried the most positive valence (Alexander) received 102% more profile visits, relative to opportunity, than daters whose names carried the worst valence (Kevin). (Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/AFP/Getty Images)
Special K: Several girls names shed their traditional “C” for a new look — including Khloe (at #7, if you include all the variant spellings), Kameron (#54) and Karson (#85).
Man, I feel like a woman: Traditional boy names know no gender in this year’s list, as Addison, literally “son of Adam,” Laurence and Charlie made the girls list, at #30, #55 and #66, respectively
Blast from the past: Names that haven’t been widely used in the last 50 years have made a strong resurgence in recent years and have found their way into the top 100. Names like Maude (#85), Nolan (#94) and Beatrice (#74) have found their way onto the list. (Photo: Fotolia)
Canadians want children of own gender to carry on legacy: study Despite a cultural push to be neutral or even indifferent about the sex of their babies, university-educated Canadians overwhelmingly prefer to have a child of their own gender as they unconsciously try to create a “meme” of themselves to live on after they die, a new study suggests.
Fifty or even 20 years ago, the same study of evolutionary biology might have veered heavily in favour of boys — the traditional breadwinners, deemed to be physiologically stronger and with a greater capacity to produce more children and grandchildren. It’s a value that still exists in many parts of the world.
But the major strides made by women in modern Western society have meant there’s never been a better time to be born a girl —and women are keenly aware of it, said Lonnie Aarssen, a Queen’s University biology professor who co-authored the study with former undergraduate student Michael Higginson.
“It’s interesting to see this emergence just in my lifetime of opportunities for women to break free from that patriarchal subjugation,” he said. “And it’s being expressed as a flip now to actually favouring offspring that have potential to represent copies of themselves because they’re the same gender.”
This is particularly linked to women seeing themselves as able to leave some kind of role model legacy for their daughters because they see greater opportunities for them today, Dr. Aarssen added. (Photo: foltolia)
Baby steps: How old should a child be to run a marathon? It doesn’t take an expert to realize that there was something wrong with Budhia Singh’s training schedule. Singh, who lives in India and was coached by a trainer, ran 48 marathons and 20 half-marathons in one year. At the time, Singh was four years old.
“It’s easy to tut at a developing country from the vantage point of the West, but it’s too simplistic to talk about human rights abuse — the boy didn’t have any rights,” says Gemma Atwal, who spent five years with Singh to make her new documentary, Marathon Boy. “I don’t approve of a boy made to run such long distances, but it’s important to remember — no one was protesting when Budhia was scouring through the rubbish for something to eat.”
While Budhia’s story is like something out of Dickens — the child was sold by his mother, became a folk hero for his running and ultimately lost everyone he loved — it also raises difficult questions. Most of the biggest Canadian races offer some sort of kid’s run, in which children as young as Budhia are encouraged to compete. We hear a lot about the importance of exercise for children, but how far should they be running, and at what age should they be allowed to start? (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Only planet: Why one child is often enough For about 30 years, social psychologist Susan Newman has been smashing down the stereotypes people lob at only children. They’re spoiled, lonely, bossy — they even talk funny, apparently. In her new book, The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide, Newman reviews more than a century’s worth of research on only children. Speaking by phone from her New Jersey home, Newman says many people don’t realize how consistent the findings are: “We’ve been brainwashed to believe that every child needs a sibling. And the research shows that that’s just not true. Only children turn out just as well, or develop just as well, as other children.” (Illustration by Steve Murray)
Circumcision: ‘Mutilation’ or an ‘act of love’? Rebecca Wald is “100% Jewish.” She celebrates the high holidays, her children attend Hebrew school, she lights candles on the sabbath and she was married to a “100% Jewish” man under a chuppah at a traditional Jewish wedding.
But unlike most Jews, from the most secular to the ultra-orthodox, she did not circumcise her son. She has never attended — will never attend — a bris, the age-old ceremony where a Jew trained in circumcision (a ‘mohel’) removes the foreskin of an eight-day-old Jewish boy as a sign of his covenant with God.
“All of the babies I saw growing up — whether cousins or the kids I babysat — were circumcised, and it seemed like that was the way things were supposed to be,” said Ms. Wald, who in December launched Beyond the Bris, a website for Jews who question circumcision. “It took having a son, who is intact, for me to really accept how normal [the uncircumcised penis] is.”
The South Florida mom is among a growing and vocal minority of Jewish “intactivists” who are challenging the 4,000-year-old ritual because, they say, the procedure inflicts unnecessary pain without any health gains, causes long-term psychological harm, hinders sexual function and pleasure, and strikes at the core of consent. They say there are Jewish women who silently pray they will not bear a son, and that the question, ‘When’s the bris?’ is too presumptive.
Two-year-old survives after swallowing pen Montreal doctors have reported what may be the longest rigid foreign object ever retrieved from inside a young child – a 15-centimetre ballpoint pen that a two-year-old girl somehow managed to swallow.
An X-ray image of the toddler shows the faint but unmistakable outline of the writing implement, partly in her esophagus and partly in her stomach, extending about half the length of the child’s little body.
“The first thing that enters the head is ‘How on earth could she have swallowed something so long?,’ ” Dr. Lily Nguyen, the ear, nose and throat specialist who led the removal procedure, recalled in an interview. “I had initially thought it was physically impossible … The next thing I was worried about was that it would puncture through either the esophagus or the stomach, so we took her to the operating room very quickly.”
All-ages show: Hipsters love children’s programming Children’s programming has long operated on different levels for different demos — with social commentary, double entendres and adult references sailing far above toddler heads — but the older age group tended to be teens and twentysomethings. The stoner overtones of H.R. PufnStuf appealed to hippies; Pee-wee’s Playhouse had enough eccentricities and innuendo to attract older fans of the Tim Burton film; and Teletubbies provided soothing early morning surrealism for ravers home from warehouse parties.
What differs with the current crop of children’s shows is that they’re targeting hipster parents, too.
The cuddly monsters of Yo Gabba Gabba! all live inside DJ Lance Rock’s ’80s-era ghetto blaster and the show’s retro 8-bit computer graphics recall the original Nintendo. Neither reference would make much sense to a generation weaned on iPods and Wiis. So who is this show aimed at exactly? (Illustrations by Steve Murray)
170 costumes, 170 days: Dad finds new way to embarrass son Dale Price of American Fork, Utah, has been seeing his 16-year-old son off to school for the past 170 school days in an unusual way: Dale dresses up every morning in a different costume and waves goodbye to his son from the family porch.
The dress-up idea started in August 2010, when the son’s bus route started passing by the Price household. Their son, Rain, was embarrassed at first, but according to Dale’s Wave At The Bus blog, Rain has a great sense of humor and, “he did laugh at the waves.”