Apr
27
2014

Scientist Says Your Baby Doesn’t Want a Brother or Sister

AND WILL DESTROY YOUR SEX LIFE TO PREVENT IT

Scientist Says Your Baby Doesn’t Want a Brother or Sister

Have you ever suspected your baby of trying to kill your sex life?

That may be exactly what your little bundle of joy is doing, says evolutionary biologist David Haig in the journal, Evolution, Medicine and Public Health.

According to Haig’s theory, when babies scream out for their moms in the night, they don’t just want comfort or to nurse — they are unconsciously plotting to stop them from having sex. The reason? Haig believes babies want to prevent their moms from becoming pregnant again.

That’s right, the Harvard scientist suggests babies want to keep mama all to themselves. In other words, they do not want to compete for their mother's time and attention and are attempting to ensure their own survival.

Sweet or sinister, that is for you to decide, though Haig argues that when babies frequently jolt their moms awake, they are ensuring she’s too tired to feel amorous, thus serving as a built-in birth control method. Biologically speaking, breastfeeding also delays the return of a woman’s period, thus warding off the potential creation of a sibling. 

While Haig’s theory has been debated by other experts who argue babies cry out in the night for all sorts of reasons, among them overheating, feeling cold, hunger or simply craving closeness, it is likely to grab the attention of anyone who has suffered a dip in their bedtime liaisons post-baby. 

Whatever the reason, the next time junior screams for you at 2 a.m., you may be looking at him — and his motives — a little differently. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think babies are trying to destroy the romance? 

If you enjoyed this post, read these suggested stories by Tanya Enberg: Babies are the Ultimate Relationship Testers; Six Things that Surprised Me Most About Motherhood and The Unexpected Benefits of Putting Your Child in Daycare.

Apr
24
2014

Is It Ever Okay To Discipline Someone Else's Child?

Where The Heck Are That Kid’s Parents?

Is It Ever Okay To Discipline Someone Else's Child?

In the toddler jungle, simple moments can quite quickly turn into complex and confusing situations. Within this vast, untamed wilderness teeming with half-pints, the rules are not always clear. 

When it comes to dealing with other people’s kids, it is delicate terrain, to say the least.

If someone else’s child is behaving badly, do you intervene or let it pass and hope their caretakers will jump into action? 

Does your reaction depend upon whether the child in question is negatively targeting your own beloved offspring?

At some point, it's going to happen. 

Anywhere children congregate, you are guaranteed to meet an assortment of temperaments. You have the pushy kid and the aggressor, the screamer and the loudmouth. You have the whiny kid, the cranky one, and the "mine! mine! mine!" child who constantly paws away at any toy somebody else has taken interest in. You have the cool kids, too, but because they aren’t overly pushy, aggressive, loud, whiny, cranky, or unwilling to share, they don’t often ruffle feathers. 

Recently, a girlfriend of mine wrote to say she’d had a run in with her friend’s four-year-old daughter. 

“My friend’s kid squirted me with the garden hose,” she wrote.

“I squirted her back and it all kicked off a bit. Touchy subject.” 

Indeed it is. 

I immediately thought of the saying, "What’s good for the goose is good for the gander." But did my friend go too far? 

Perhaps she did. Even though it was just a harmless spritz of water, it scared the little girl and she started screaming and crying.

“I hoped to achieve a playful understanding of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of being sprayed with a hose,” explained my friend.

While the girl’s father was upset by the incident, her mother wasn’t fazed. Rather she felt that if the child dishes it out, she must to learn to take it, too. Neither parent explained to the girl why she shouldn't go around blasting people with water. 

In the end, my friend apologized to the girl.

“Within a few minutes she was running around holding my hand as we played chase with her mom. In the future I plan to just walk away from the child when her behaviour is getting out of hand.”

While taking the high road might’ve been a better approach, certainly many of us can understand the urge to give the misbehaving child a taste of her own medicine. 

Recently at the playground a boy of about two approached my son, who is the same age, and began shoving him. 

“Hey, gentle, gentle, gentle!” I said, intervening only after realizing the kid’s dad was just going to stand there staring blankly. I shot the kid "the look," which is stern and unapologetically no-nonsense. 

Make no mistake, if my child was being aggressive, I would be correcting his behaviour immediately. I will protect my child and yours. 

Another time a mouthy kid yelled out that my son couldn’t use the swing because he was a baby. I cocked my eyebrow questioningly at him and waited for his parents to interject, perhaps offer up a lesson in manners, but they said nothing. So, I did. I told the rude urchin that my child could use whatever equipment he wanted—we were in a public park, after all. 

His parents stared dumbfounded. I shot them a quizzical look and shook my head before walking away. 

Of course, many new parents start off expecting that our adult peers will be actively teaching their offspring the value of being kind and polite only to learn that behind many poorly behaved children stand poorly behaved parents. 

Some folks allow their youngsters to roam around free of discipline and rules, but why should others have to pay for such laissez-faire parenting styles? 

You shouldn’t. And sometimes that means you need to be ballsy. 

According to the website parents.com, there are times when stepping in is essential.

“When it comes to disciplining someone else's child, you don't want to offend the kid's parents, but if his behaviour is dangerous or harmful you can't simply ignore it either,” they advise. 

The site offers tips about how to handle everything from toy stealing and bad play dates to biting and terrible table manners. 

“Explain your expectations: A child isn't likely to obey boundaries unless you set them,” they say.  

Meanwhile, an article in salon.comentitled "Hell is Other People’s Children," is a delightful read. 

In her piece, writer Anna Lefler recalls taking her children to a busy aquarium in Long Beach. 

“We observed most every manner of ocean-dwelling creature, from filmy baby jellyfish to majestic sea turtles to sassy dolphins.

The variety of species was stunning, yet these life forms shared a striking commonality: In front of every one of their enclosures stood a child tapping, banging or slapping the glass. 

Within moments of witnessing this, my children tilted forward in their stroller seats and reached out with four little hands, straining to take their rightful shot at the nearest fish tank. ‘No, no,’ I said and backed the stroller away from the display. I pointed to the brass plaque above the viewing window that read ‘Please Don’t Tap the Glass.’ See that? It’s against the rules to hit the glass. Besides, the fish don’t like it.

My children’s heads swivelled in unison as their eyes traveled from my finger to the plaque to the boy standing in front of the lobster tank and pummelling the glass with both fists. Every few hits, he would change things up and deliver a series of savage kicks to the wall beneath the window. On the other side of the glass, an enormous lobster swayed in the tank’s artificial current and returned the child’s gaze. Then the lobster looked over at me in that way that only a lobster can, and I knew we were thinking the same thing: Where the hell were this kid’s parents?”

I loved this story, as it is something many of us are forced to ask at times—where the hell are that kid’s parents? 

Oftentimes they are standing right in front of us doing absolutely nothing. Maybe they are exhausted and have tuned out or they’ve simply decided to take the path of least resistance (it is much easier not to confront a child than to intervene and face a potential public tantrum, after all) but when you have kids, that is the job

You correct, you teach, you guide, you praise, you love, you get involved. You parent. Heck, without that, what else is the point of us being there?

Read more blogs by Tanya Enberg: The Stroller Wars: Where Manners Are Being Left at the DoorWhen it Comes to Our Kids, Do We Practice What We Preach? and Once Upon A Time, I Was Just Me: Before Baby, Who Were You? 

 
Apr
06
2014

Training Day: The Importance Of Teaching Dogs The Rules

Dogs Gone Wild!

Training Day: The Importance Of Teaching Dogs The Rules

Let’s talk dogs. More specifically, dog-park etiquette. 

I live in a dog-friendly 'hood, but that doesn’t—or shouldn’t—mean that anything goes. But, sometimes you wouldn’t know it. 

Out of the many Toronto neighborhoods I’ve lived in with my now eight-year-old dog Maggie, my current area is by far the most entitled. 

And by that I mean owners and dogs. There are owners that don’t pick up their dog’s poop and many who haven’t even bothered to train their canine buddies at all, which really is a disservice to the animal.

The lackadaisical attitude regarding pups in these parts gives diligent dog owners a bad name, and it’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to growl.

I adopted Maggie-the-dog from the Humane Society when she was eight months old. One of the first things I did was register her in obedience classes. Then, before heading to the office each morning, we'd go outside and work on our developing skills together. 

You’re probably wondering why I am going on about dogs here, so flashback to a recent trip to the dog park when Maggie and I were enjoying a lunch-time break. 

There I was tossing Mag’s beloved toy, the Flying Squirrel, when a large, fluffy dog came barreling over and stole it. 

I waited a few minutes thinking the dog’s owner would fetch it back, but nope, he didn’t budge.

“Excuse me, is that your dog?” I asked.

“Yep,” he responded. 

“Your dog has our toy,” I told him. 

“That’s OK,” he tells me. 

Except that it wasn’t—we were actually using it, I thought to myself.

“Are you leaving or something?” he said, his tone snarky and self-righteous.

“In a few minutes, but I’d like to play with my dog a bit first.”

“Well, I’ll try to get it back, but once she has something I can’t guarantee it.”

He feebly called out to his dog, who by now was on the other side of the park. The dog flat out ignored him. He then tried to approach her, and she darted away. 

The dog didn’t seem to know its own name, and definitely wasn’t going to respond to the man’s pathetically limp commands. 

Finally, after more than 10 minutes, the guy pulled out a ball and tricked his dog into dropping the "Squirrel," in order to fetch the new goodie. Could he not have busted out that move in the first place? I wondered.

He then leisurely strolled over to us and handed it to me.

“Just so you know, that’s the nature of the dog park,” he snarled.

“I wouldn’t throw it again or she'll take it. If you want to throw it, go out there,” he said, pointing to the regular park area where Bylaw Officers ticket folks with off-leash dogs.

Huh? In what world does this man exist? 

The guy who hasn’t bothered to train his dog is telling someone to leave because he can’t control his furry friend? 

I realize this is precisely the point when I should’ve come up with some kind of clever response, but I didn’t.

 

Perhaps I was too busy enjoying a little thing called sunshine—a rarity in these parts—to be lured into a dog-park brawl. 

While the cat may have got my tongue, he didn’t get my typing fingers, so here it goes . . .

My top five tips for successful outings with your dog: 

1. A dog should know his or her name. This is helpful for many reasonsfrom getting Spot to drop the rotting food he’s just found on the ground, to having him retrieve a toy or the dead rodent he’s just snatched up. But most importantly, it will stop him from chasing that zippy little squirrel onto the road where Spot could get squashed by a car and turned into pavement art.

2. Train your dog so that it understands the rules. The family dog shouldn’t be running the show. If it is, perhaps it’s the human that requires obedience training. There are plenty of resources for finding a professional trainer, as well as online tips available, such as those offered by world-famous trainer Cesar Millan on his website. 

3. Clean up the dog’s crap. There really isn’t much else to say on that matter, is there?

4. If a dog is aggressive, keep it on leash and away from off-leash parks. Meanwhile, work with a dog expert to find solutions. 

5, Be polite, not entitled. Dogs are a wonderful privilege, but canine-friendly neighborhoods will only exist as long as we take responsibility for our animals. Otherwise, expect to get plenty of stink-eye from the neighbours instead of adoring "oohs" and "awws" over how cute your pup is.

Happy training!