Monthly Archives: November 2011

Parenting healthy eating habits

30th Nov

An article in regards to healthy eating and how if introduced to kids at a young age they will be more likely to continue to eating healthier. Children should also be taught how to cook, lay a table and appropriate table habits for social grace.

Parenting healthy eating habits

  • Parenting has life-altering effects on the children.
  • foods we used to eat, those provided by our parents and others we would prepare ourselves – many times without permission.
  • Reminisce about school lunches, special-occasion meals and having a feast from fruit trees in season, as we grew up in the countryside.
  • Pass on healthy habits Introduce children to a variety from all food groups.
  •  Have them appreciate all foods, especially whole foods, by preparing them in tasty ways as part of their meals.
  • Teach them how to use economical foods, such as foods in season, to make mouth-watering healthy dishes such as soups, stews, one-pot rice, and ground-provision dishes.
  • Encourage family time, have children take part in food shopping, preparation and service.
  •  Have family meals together as often as possible.
  • Teach children to share, share meals with shut-ins, neighbours and other children who have less. Teach social graces; we are in an era of fast food.
  •  Most children eat very often from boxes, paper bags and drink from bottles and boxes.
  • Teach your children how to serve – serve their siblings and parents. Teach the boys to serve the girls and the girls to serve their brothers.
  •  Teach them the value of preparing a meal and serving someone without expecting it to be reciprocated.
  • Parenting is a huge responsibility, pass on the values you can benefit from in your golden years, and that will also enrich the next generation.


When Did Childbirth Become Everyone’s Business?

I was tricked into a natural childbirth. As the midwife hauled me from birthing tub to hallway walk to music-filled, softly lit delivery room, I kept saying, no, thanks. No more tub. No music. Narcotics. Now. Actually, birth being what it is for me, I screamed it. But my midwife was determined that I would become the natural childbirth success story I’d never particularly wanted to be.

In retrospect, I don’t resent her disregard for what I thought I wanted (even though I swear she said I could have drugs). I’d chosen to give birth with her, in the hospital, because I trusted her. She was also with me, less than two years later, for my emergency Caesarean section. But my only goals for giving birth were that it be easy (never achieved) and successful (nailed three times). Other people, as evidenced by my midwife, may care a great deal about how women give birth. Some care that we do it their way, whether that’s a nice, convenient, scheduled C-section, a beautiful, empowering home birth or something in between. Others just want women to be able to give birth according to our own wishes and choices, an idea that sounds perfectly reasonable until you’re in a position to realize that the baby clearly did not read the birth plan. Somewhere after births left the home in the 1920s (back when as many as one in eight women died in childbirth) and before the Caesarean rate in some private clinics in Brazil reached up towards 90 percent, how women give birth became an “issue” instead of a private matter.

Into all of this, in 2008, came “The Business of Being Born,” a documentary produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein. Ms. Lake and Ms. Epstein set out to pull the curtain back on the ways giving birth may no longer be controlled by the mother or by the baby, but by outside forces, some with good intentions and some without. This year, they’ve followed it up with the release of “More Business of Being Born,” a four-DVD sequel filled with more births, birth stories and interviews with pioneers in the holistic childbirth movement.

Ms. Lake and Ms. Epstein intended to empower and inform women and to promote alternatives to the hospital default choice. While they’re clearly fans of home births, you can see their movies and be moved to push for changes in hospitals and birthing centers rather than a total return to the days of yore. Or you can see them and become, as the  Entertainment Weekly film critic Owen Gleiberman did, a complete, passionate and misguided (or at least misinformed) convert. Mr. Gleiberman, whose wife gave birth at home last year, admits his bias, but that doesn’t stop him from filling his approving review of the movie itself with the zealous but dubious statements of a proselyte.

His review raises the specter of Brazil’s “sci-fi nightmare” 93 percent C-section rate happening here (that rate is exaggerated; countrywide it’s closer to 37 percent — still startling, but far less dramatic). Instead, hospitals across the country are actually banning elective early deliveries (in itself arguably an intrusion over a woman’s right to choose her birth experience). He insists that “in a hospital, the baby is taken away from you” right after birth, which may be true in some hospitals, but certainly not all. He cites the statistic, favored by home birth advocates, that home birth is “safer” than hospital birth. He declares, without attribution, that the “numbers don’t lie.” I’m not opposed to home births. But the most cursory research reveals credible studies both supporting and questioning home birth safety.

Shouldn’t I let one new dad neophyte off the hook for his enthusiasm? I would, except that his public zeal impacts others. It’s one thing to support an informed decision about home or hospital birth, and another to promote an antagonistic relationship between the two, which serves no one. See the “The Business of Being Born.” Watch the sequel, if you’re up to four more DVDs worth of birthing. Talk to, as the trope goes, your health care provider. But the advice from your local film critic? I’d skip that.

Are Fairy Tales Really for Children?

29th Nov

The realities of fairy tales are they suitable for children. If not, what exactly is the story each book is portraying?


Are Fairy Tales Really for Children?

Would you buy your children a beautiful new volume of classic fairy tales this season? And having bought it, would you read it to them?

As many have said before me, the tales of the Brothers Grimm are indeed grim. Pamela Paul noted in the Times Book Review that although the stories live happily ever after in this collection, not all the characters do. A classic fairy tale is dark, implacable in matters of life and death, and above all politically incorrect, and children (including my childhood self) love them anyway. Parents are the ones who struggle.

We do not want to read of how the father of Hansel and Gretel abandons them in the woods at the behest of his new wife with scarcely a backward glance. We balk at the description of Sleeping Beauty, who has “all the perfections imaginable,” which is to say that she is beautiful, witty, graceful, and sings, dances and plays music “perfectly well” but has apparently no need of brains, ambition or strength. As for “Little Red Riding Hood,” who never returns from her trip to Grandma’s in the version told in “The Blue Fairy Book,” Andrew Lang’s classic compilation? It was all I could do, reading it when my kids were younger, to keep from tacking on a different ending myself.

A very Posh baby: She’s only 4 months old but Little Miss Beckham’s already got a wardrobe to rival her mother’s

With David and Victoria as her parents, Harper Seven was always going to be a trendy tot. Here, baby Beckham (with a little help from JILL FOSTER) reveals what it’s like to be the world’s youngest style icon.


Facing my public: Harper makes her debut in a £57 Stella McCartney top and bloomers on September 4 (left) and an £80 Makie two-piece in black and white gingham with £27 socks on September 8 (right)


Get a grip: Little Miss Beckham sports a £164 Bonpoint dress and the first of many hair accessories – a £17 Bonpoint clip – as she steps out for a spot of shopping with Victoria in New York on September 11 –





September 4

It’s my premiere. Nearly two months old and for my first public outing I’ve gone for a £9.99 Mothercare babygro . . . just kidding! It’s a Stella McCartney top and bloomers (£57). Not to be outdone, Mummy wears sunglasses from her own collection (£335).

September 8

For my first New York Fashion Week, Mummy chooses a dress (£1,495) and sunglasses (£335), both from her own collection. I’ve gone for Bonpoint socks (£27) and a Makie two-piece in black and white gingham (£80). Mummy and Daddy chose this pattern — apparently, they love big fat cheques.



September 11

A girl can’t start shopping soon enough, so Mummy and I hit the stores in New York. She goes for another of her own designs (£600) and I’ve picked a Bonpoint dress (£164). But who’s stuck this silly pink Bonpoint hairslide on my head (£17)? As soon as I’ve got this whole hand/eye co-ordination thing cracked, it’s going.

September 15

Mummy and I spend a tiring afternoon trawling the pick of New York’s designers. Mummy opts for yet another dress from her collection (£1,300) while I’m in a Marie Chantal dress (£98) and cardie (£68). After all that shopping, I need a nap. Sing me a lullaby, Mummy. On second thoughts . . .





Getting ’em young: Harper is sure to develop a taste for high-end fashion after mummy takes her shopping at Prada on September 15. Harper wears Marie Chantal dress, £98, and cardie, £68




The cat’s pyjamas: Victoria and Harper in New York on September 16 (left), Harper in £68 Marie Chantal cardigan and £54 bloomers, with £17 Bonpoint socks; and (right) pretty in £50 pink Makie blouse and matching £30 bloomers with £38.82 Bonpoint hairband on October 8


Not a football shirt in sight: It’s only the finest designer clothing for little Harper as she watches Daddy play football on November 3 in £138 Bonpoint dress and £100 cardigan





September 16


More shopping in New York. Mum wears one of her diffusion line dresses (£600) and those sunglasses again. I’m head-to-toe designer: a Marie Chantal cardigan (£68), dress (£98) and bloomers (£54) plus Bonpoint socks (£17). They say Mum’s too posh to push, but I didn’t realise they meant my buggy. With all this lugging around, I’m worried she might think I’m one of her handbags.

October 8

Look at Mummy and me in matching pink. There’s a lot of travelling to do as a Beckham baby, so here we are at Los Angeles airport. Mummy is wearing an Azzedine Alaia skirt (£925) and cardigan (£695) and sunglasses from her own line (£335). I’ve let her style me in a Makie blouse (£50), matching bloomers (£30) and Bonpoint hairband (£38.82).

November 3

When I go to see Daddy playing football for LA Galaxy, I don’t bother with a boring supporter’s scarf. No, it’s designer wear all the way for me! Today, I’m wearing a navy Bonpoint dress (£138), teamed with a pale pink cardigan (£100). Just try to beat that, Suri Cruise.


Perfecting the Posh pout: Harper sporting £76 floral blouse and £17 matching floral Bonpoint harslide on November 6



Camera shy? Me? Harper seems at home in front of the lens on November 13. Well she would, dolled up to the nines in her £103 Bonpoint dress, tights, £27 and Marie Chantal hairclip – a bargain at just £5

November 6

The first lesson in being a Beckham baby is to perfect that famous Posh pout, and here’s Mummy teaching me how to do it. I’m wearing a Bonpoint liberty floral print blouse (£76) and — oh no! — another Bonpoint liberty floral bow hairslide (£17). It’s time to sack the stylist!

November 13

Hey, I’m four months old, so I’m not as camera shy any more. In fact, bring it on! Mummy has chosen a teal dress from her collection (£1,420), while I’m wearing a Bonpoint checked dress (£103), chocolate brown ribbed tights (£27) and a bargain Marie Chantal hairclip (£5).

Mother and daughter shopping on November 15 (left) with Harper in Jameli dress, £98, matching hairband, £32.82 and Chloe ribbed tights, £23.58. Right, wrapping up to catch a flight on November 16, with Harper wearing a Terre de Sienna babygro, £94, and a Bonpoint alice band, £32.82

November 15

ANOTHER day, another shopping excursion. Mummy wears a dress from her collection (£1,495) while I choose a Bonpoint Jameli dress (£98), matching hairband (£32.82) and Chloe ribbed tights (£32.58). OK, enough with the headbands! They look better on Daddy anyway.

November 16

OOOH, it’s getting a bit nippy in New York, so Mummy and I make sure we wrap up as we catch a flight at JFK airport.

Mummy looks snuggly in her fake fur jacket, and I’ve gone for a Terre de Sienna babygro (£94) and a Bonpoint alice band (£38.82). Baby, when it’s cold outside, you’ve still got to trend it like Beckham.

Crisis on maternity wards as births to women over 40 soar 70% in ten years

28th Nov

The increasing number of women having children over the age of 40. This is proving a difficultly due to the shortage in midwifes, but this is made worst by the fact that older women having children usually experience more problems during pregnancy and labour therefore require more attention. Which is proving very difficult and an added cost for the economy.

Crisis on maternity wards as births to women over 40 soar 70% in ten years

  • A baby boom among women aged over 40 is fuelling a crisis on maternity wards, midwives are warning.
  • Nearly 28,000 women from this age group gave birth last year, a rise of more than 70 per cent since 2001.
  • The trend is putting pressure on maternity services because older mothers are far more likely to suffer complications during labour, according to a report from the Royal College of Midwives.
  • Older mothers are at more risk of the high blood pressure condition pre-eclampsia, premature births or the foetus becoming unwell just before the labour.
  • Consequently midwives and obstetricians are increasingly having to attend to these women, meaning they have less time to care for others on the wards.
  • In 2001 there were 16,210 births to women aged over 40 but this rose to 27,731 last year. The RCM warns this dramatic increase is contributing to a ‘looming crisis’ in maternity services
  • The report warns that the situation is being made worse by a ‘chronic shortage’ of midwives, as staffing levels have simply not kept pace with the country’s soaring birth rate.

The birth rate has increased by 22 per cent since 2001, up from 594,634 to 723,165 last year. But by contrast, the number of midwives has only increased by 15 per cent over the same period, from 18,048 to 20,790.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘It needs to be recognised across the UK that demands are made on maternity services, not just from high birth rates, but also from the increasing complexity of births.The increasing age of women giving birth adds to this, but other issues such as rising obesity also lead to increasing demands on midwives’ time.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of National Childbirth Trust, the UK’s largest charity for parents, said: ‘The greater likelihood of older women experiencing complications during pregnancy and birth means additional midwifery time is needed to provide appropriate care and help these women achieve a healthy birth.’

Half of all girls and a third of boys are obsessed with body image

28th Nov

This article relates to the increasing number of girl and boys being obsessed with their body with many of them resorting to extreme measures such as steroids for boys and diet pills for girls. It goes on to suggest that over 50% surveyed have these thoughts of their body image due to comparing themselves to the bodies of people seen on TV.

Half of all girls and a third of boys are obsessed with body image


  • Half of all girls and a third of boys are obsessed with body image
  • Children as young as five being treated in hospital for anorexia
  • Half of girls and a third of boys are willing to take extreme measures to get a perfect body or reach an ideal weight, a study has found.
  • The pressure that children felt to have a certain figure meant that one in ten young boys would take steroids to become more muscular while one in eight girls said they would resort to diet pills or laxatives to help them slim down.


Researchers who surveyed 810 youngsters aged 11 to 16 revealed that over 50 per cent of girls and more than a third of boys said they compared their bodies with those of people on TV, with about a quarter of both gender willing to undergo cosmetic surgery to recreate the look they wanted.


‘Young people appear to be increasingly insecure about their appearance and body image. The root cause of this problem is the pressure on young people to conform to an unattainable and unrealistic body image ideal.’

Rosi Prescott, chief executive of Central YMCA

Families face £1,400 a year hike in childcare costs

28th Nov

The increasing pricing within child care and the resulting effects, such as parents having to choose between work and staying at home due to the huge increase in pricing. As a result poorer families will be left out of the social and educational benefits that childcare offers.


Families face £1,400 a year hike in childcare costs


  • Families are set to see childcare bills rise by up to £1,400 a year by 2015 because of soaring prices and reduced state support, a study shows.
  •  forced to consider giving up work to care for their children themselves because of the squeeze.
  • poorer families would be worst hit proportionally with a 62 per cent rise in the amount they will have to pay out.

It shows that by 2015 the amount a family with a total household income of just £20,000 a year pay towards childcare will have seen a rise of £600 a year compared with the bill in 2006, when state support was at its height.

For a middle income family with average childcare needs the rise would be £900 a year – or 25 per cent – between 2006 and 2015.

Those in a higher income bracket are expected to face a rise of 42 per cent – or £1,400 a year.

 “Paying for high quality formal childcare is already a struggle for many parents, and affordability has been declining since 2006. But the triple whammy of the ever increasing ‘ticket price’ for childcare, cuts to childcare support in the tax credit system, and the freeze in the value of childcare vouchers risks making formal childcare a luxury that many families will no longer be able to afford. This will put parents in an impossible position, forcing many to choose between going to work and incurring a large childcare bill, or staying at home. As well as having a detrimental impact on family budgets and on the labour market, these trends will price the poorest children out of the considerable social and educational benefits offered by quality formal childcare.”

Ian Mulheirn, director of the SMF