Here’s some of what’s got us chatting around Savvy HQ this week.
1. New SIDS theory
A Seattle doctor made headlines this week with a new take on the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The Seattle Times reported that an anesthesiologist from Seattle Children’s Hospital believes the medical mystery can be tied to an inner-ear problem that keeps infants from rousing themselves during sleep and repositioning themselves for ease of breathing. While this is not published, peer-reviewed science, it does strike us as interesting that post-mortem examinations on 31 babies whose deaths were attributed to SIDS had a hearing malfunction, some with inner-ear bleeding. It’s hard to know what, if any, stock to put in this early research, but if it did prove true, a simple screening test in the first two days of life could identify those at high risk so additional steps and precautions could be taken. Here’s hoping.
2. Great read on the decision NOT to have kids
As bored as we are of the so-called ‘Mommy Wars’, we’re equally tired of the self-righteous tone taken in the debate over whether or not to have kids in the first place. Those of us in the ‘with kids camp’ are far too likely to assume that childless folk are selfish. That’s why we like the level-headed tone in this New York Times piece, No Kids for Me Thanks. Here’s a cool passage: ‘Parents and non-parents need to think of themselves as partners. Kids need all sorts of role models, and to not have every adult they know be somebody’s parent.’
3. Sperm donor shortage
Canadians seeking donated sperm must now rely on donations made at clinics in the United States. The issue came to the forefront last week when a couple from Port Hope, Ontario filed a lawsuit against a U.S. sperm bank, as reported in this article from the Toronto Star. The couple alleges that the sperm bank and donor misled them on key details about the donor’s health and education. Setting aside whatever regulatory problems there may be with U.S. sperm banks, we can hardly believe Canadians are forced to look south of the border in the first place. But they must because, in 2004, Canada passed a law that made it illegal to pay donors for sperm. As popular as the activity may be as a pastime for healthy men and boys, we’re just not buying that many of them are going to make a special trip to a clinical environment to donate for the good of others. So no wonder the Port Hope couple and so many like them are forced to gamble on a system that’s outside of the jurisdiction of Canadian regulators.
4. Uproar over pregnant model’s body
Will we ever shut the heck up about celebrities’ bodies? As Savvy Storyteller Kelli Catana shares in her blog, a photo of nine-month pregnant model Sarah Stage has drawn a firestorm of criticism from people who suggest she looks too fit. Sure, she’s pretty svelte compared to most people at the end of pregnancy. But as a model, obviously she has a long torso, and—as the photo shows—a lot of muscle tone. And that’s going to come in handy when she’s labouring. Try to be happy for her, k? We don’t want to go back to a time when expectant women were treated like fragile flowers and told to stay at home eating bonbons (well, maybe a few bonbons would be nice).
5. Former anti-vaxxer speaks out after family gets sick
An Ottawa-area mom has spoken out to say that she regrets the decision she and her husband made not to get their kids vaccinated. Her seven children, including a 10-month-old baby, have contracted whooping cough (pertussis) and are now in home isolation while they’re being treated with antibiotics. Tara Hills told the CBC the situation is particularly painful given the couple had just decided to reverse their position on vaccines; her youngest started displaying symptoms of the disease before she could get all of the kids their shots. (We can imagine that is a bit of a logistical feat.) She’s says she’s speaking out in the ‘hope we can use this very painful experience to encourage other people like us to maybe re-examine the issue.’ Hills also wrote about it a blog post called Learning the Hard Way: My Journey from AntiVaxx to Science. We applaud her for doing so.
Here are five hot topics that sparked lively conversation around the Savvy offices this past week.
1. Happy news about quality time
New research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family this week came as a relief to guilt-ridden working moms everywhere. Co-authored by a University of Toronto sociologist, it’s the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent time. Basically it refutes the long-held belief that more is more when it comes to the time parents—especially moms—spend with our kids. In fact, the study found that the sheer number of hours our kids spend with us has little impact on how they turn out—not in terms of academic achievement, emotional well-being or behaviour. Income and education level of parents were found to be the biggest success factors for kids. But that doesn’t mean time spent with parents isn’t incredibly important, or that staying at home with the kids isn’t a perfectly good choice. It’s just that how we spend time is far more impactful than the amount. For example, if a child stays at home with a parent full time but the TV is on for hours at a time, he will not fair as well as a child who spends the bulk of the daytime in an enriching, educational environment followed by a few quality hours with one or more parents sharing a family meal and lots of bedtime stories. This piece by the Washington Post provides some great context.
2. Enough with the talk about working vs. staying at home
And while we’re on the topic, we love this post on our sister site, UrbanMoms.ca. It nails exactly how little we care to hear people’s opinions on how moms should spend their days. Because it’s super tacky to try to spark a Mommy War in 2015.
3. Finnish schools will no longer teach subjects
The education system in Finland has long been held up as an example to the rest of the world. It has really progressive curriculum, and students there consistently rank among the highest globally in numeracy and literacy. So it was interesting to learn this week that the Nordic nation is scrapping subject-based teaching altogether for its senior students ages 16 and up. That’s right: No history class, no language and no MATH. Instead students will explore topics like the European Union from all kinds of perspectives, covering history, economics, languages and geography. Or in vocational streams, they’ll study topics like cafeteria services, learning core subjects like math by exploring the business aspects of the field, for example.
4. Swedish dads looking adorable while taking parental leave
And since we can’t get enough of all things Scandinavian this week, here’s a collection of photos depicting real(ly handsome) Swedish fathers in very ordinary moments during parental leave (which amounts to 480 days of leave for each family per child). We love the juxtaposition in many cases of the dads’ really macho professions with the soft skills on display in the photos. Like the probation officer bathing his infant in the sink or a construction engineer with two kids in his grocery cart. You’re welcome.
5. Marvel Universe Live!
Those of us with superhero-crazy kids were especially excited to learn that this live-action arena show is on tour again. Marvel Universe Live! is a unique entertainment experience that brings 25 favourite Marvel characters together in one ‘epic quest’ around an entirely new storyline. The tour starts in Victoria on June 11 and moves east from there over the summer, hitting up Vancouver, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Hamilton, Toronto, and Montreal. AND we’ve got a coupon code for 20% off the price of tickets that you can use if you book April 1–5. Just enter BLOGCA with your order of up to 15 tickets at any of the stops on the tour.