Friday, December 28, 2007

If Your Baby Was a Fruit

For those of you who love to track growth progress (and really who doesn't) when you are pregnant, I finally found a good weekly list of your little one in terms of size of fruit: Tada!

(click for larger picture!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Australia's Baby Breath Tax

There has been more and more talk of downsizing the human population as the Earth's natural resources are recently straining to keep up with the growth- but Australia is the 1st that I know of to propose a tax for the carbon footprint the new family addition will add. The proposal basically says that the first two kids you don't have to pay for, but any kids after that will cost you a $4,400 tax at birth, plus $350 to $700 per year "for the life of the child."

What is the justification? From a letter to the Editor of The Medical Journal of Australia,

Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing, but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society.

Does that seem unfair? I'm not sure what I think yet. But on the opposite side of this proposal- people should get carbon credits for using contraceptives, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, condoms and sterilization procedures. Likewise, family planning clinics and hospitals that provide greenhouse-friendly services should also receive a tax benefit.

This will be an interesting topic and trend to follow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If a Tiffany's Box Could Be a Nursery

I love nursery designs- and a good bargain. Sometimes it is hard to get just exactly what you want without emptying your pockets. But today I stumbled across the sweetest room- in a light blue that could very easily work for a boy or a girl -with all the white curly details. It just took my breath away- and it was.... on the IKEA website! Yes! This whole room is fantastically coordinated and chic and not expensive at the same time.

(click to enlarge!)

What does this room entail?
1. HENSVIK crib $129
2. EKTORP JENNYLUND chair- in white, washable cover! $199
3. HENSVIK wardrobe $139
4. TASSA NATT wall light $5
5. HEMNES changing table $144

$616- not bad considering some people are asking $750 to $1790 for a crib!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anorexia Risk Determined In Utero?

Previous studies have shown that shared family environment has little effect on the development of anorexia, so researchers are now looking at shared intrauterine environment. A new study out this month from researchers in Sweden in The Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that female sex hormones exposure in the womb may have an affect on predisposition to anorexia.

The study looked at twins, same sex twins and opposite sex twins. Researchers observed 51 cases of anorexia among the female twins, 3 among the male twins and 36 among the opposite-sex pairs. What is interesting is that among the opposite-sex twins almost half the cases were in males- a greater number than we normally see as females in general have a 10 times higher risk than males for anorexia. So what does that mean?

"the male member of a male-female twin pair had a risk for anorexia statistically no different from the risk among females... Female sex hormones may influence neurodevelopment and later risk for anorexia, they suggest, and males in that uterine environment would be similarly affected."

For help on anorexia, try,, or Anorexia Treatment.

Monday, December 10, 2007

2007 Green Holiday Toy List

There are tons of places on the web telling you what it hot and what's not, what's "eco-hip" and what Earth friendly... most are not all that helpful, but here is a run down of some lists that were actually worth reading:

250+ Lead-Free Toys Made in the USA: From the Daily Green.

The Daily Green has reached out to Made-in-USA toy manufacturers all over America to find out what's available this holiday season for kids whose parents are willing to take that extra step to keep their kids (and homes) safe from this deadly environmental toxin.

Yahoo's Growing Up Green List
25 gift from the top environmental blogs including TreeHugger, ecoFabulous and Greenopia

The Green Parent Holiday Gift List

Gifts are divided into 5 categories; Toys You Can Trust, No Waste Gifts, Books for All Ages, Cool Eco-Friendly Stuff, and Gifts That Give Back.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Genius! Mabel's Labels

If you haven't checked out Mabel's Labels yet, you should. Put away the sharpies since you will no longer be penning your kids names on everything. They have labels for just about everything: cups, spoons, tupperware, shoes, clothes, backpacks, and yes- allergies. The best part is that unlike your 'permandent' marker- these won't fade or wash off.

"They withstand the dishwasher, microwave, UV Rays and hard wearing children. Customers tell us tales of four-year-old labels still holding strong!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Not Sure? Test Your Toys!

An AP report on MSNBC today says that after tests by a coalition of environmental health groups found that of the more than 1,200 children’s products tested, 35% contained lead. Of those items, items deemed with "excessive lead levels" included a Hannah Montana card game case, a Go Diego Go! backpack and Circo brand shoes.

The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys is available at

To buy lead tester kits try:

For information on how to properly check toys for lead try:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Better for the Kids and the Environment!

A new study out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Jianguo Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University says that "Americans spend an extra $3.6 billion annually on water as a result of the extra households created when people divorce". Other examples they site: running twice as many applicances for the same number of people- two separate AC units, dishwashers, and refrigerators - where there used to be more communal use.

Now, there are plenty of good reasons for divorce- abuse being a very serious one, so I am not suggesting this lightly. Just an interesting factoid. Healthy marriages are always ideal and now here's another (albeit very small) motivation to work things through perhaps.

The MSNBC article can be found here.

Folic Acid in Flour

If you have heard it once, you have heard it 10 billion times: when pregnant and when trying to conceive take Folic Acid! Yet still the NYTimes reports, "an estimated 200,000 children around the world are born with crippling defects of the spinal column. Many are paralyzed or permanently impaired by spina bifida".

Experts are suggesting that governments should require that flour be fortified with folic acid, which has been shown to prevent these neural tube defects. For Americans, this bill has already been passed. The federal government has been requiring almost all flour to be fortified since 1998. However, the average amount that most women get from this addition to flour is a mere extra 100 micrograms of folic acid a day. 100 micrograms is not nearly enough to make a difference, as women in the first trimester should have 600 micrograms. For the last 10 years doctors have been asking the Food and Drug Administration to double the amount, but the FDA keeps resisting.

Keep an eye out for further news on this topic, as recently the buzz around it has picked up. The American Medical Association, the March of Dimes and several pediatric societies have stepped up and asked the FDA to amend this policy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Peanut Allergies at 14 months

A recent study published in Pediatrics has caused the American Academy of Pediatrics to now recommend that children with a family history of allergies avoid peanuts until age 3.

Analyzing data from 2000 to 2006 from the Duke University pediatric allergy and immunology clinic, doctors found that food allergies are showing up earlier. The study concluded,

"In the past decade, the ages of first peanut exposure and reaction have declined among peanut-allergic children seen in a referral clinic. Egg allergy is very common in peanut-allergic patients, and sesame seeds should perhaps be considered one of the major food allergens. The decline in the age of first peanut reaction seems to be attributable to earlier exposure."

Dr. Todd Green of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh was quoted by MSNBC, “There’s a valid reason to delay introduction to products containing peanuts. When kids are older, it can be easier to manage bad reactions. They can tell you right away if their mouths feel funny. For that reason alone, it’s worth delaying exposing your child to a peanut product, especially if a child is at high risk".

If you are worried about the possibilty of food allergies because of family history, go ahead and wait- it certainly doesn't appear to hurt.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fun with Harmless Air Blasts

Looking for something fun to give that both children and adults (but generally not the dog) will enjoy? Try the airzooka! We personally had a blast with it last year, although it did scare the dog a bit - it makes a fairly loud noise when you deploy. The noise didn't bother me much at all and lends to a fun conversation about science if you are up for it. You hear the noise before you feel the blast of air move your hair. Enter introduction to physics!