Crib notes

Crib notes: Are school spankings legal in your state? You might be surprised.

March 20, 2012 at 3:37 PM ET

Back when I was in elementary school, my teacher used to paddle my behind if I got out of line. Something your grandpa used to say or something your teenager says now? NPR recently reported that 19 states allow for corporal punishment of students in public schools. This is a punishment that is not allowed in prisons, the military, hospitals or mental institutions. New Jersey was the first state to ban spankings in schools, back in 1867, but today, a fair number of states -- mostly in the South and Mountain West, still allow it. In Florida, wooden or fiberglass paddles are the preferred instrument for meting out punishments. One shop class even has students produce the paddles, since paddles with the desired measurements can't be bought in stores. While many parents reportedly support paddling kids in class, not all do. But, if it's allowed by state law and part of school policy, there's often little a parent can do if they disagree with the practice. Yes, it's tradition in some areas, but does it help curb bad behavior? One psychologist says that research shows it doesn't help and believes that it can have negative physical and psychological effects. Is spanking allowed at your kids' school?

Are moms a bunch of control freaks?
Mom means so much more than just caring for the kids. Mom means cleaning the house. Mom means cooking the food. Mom means grocery shopping, homework helping, carpool running and about a million other things. We're overwhelmed and overloaded. Some of those tasks we even hate (we're looking at you, toilet-scrubbing). But, will we delegate any of those dreaded chores? Oh no, we will not. Some say that this indicates that, more often than not, mom means control freak. In an article in TIME Magazine, the managing editor of Real Simple magazine reveals the high level of control-freakishness found in American women. Real Simple conducted a survey which found that although women named cleaning as their most hated task, nearly half the women surveyed wouldn't hire a house cleaner, even if they could afford it. Two-thirds of women wouldn't hire child care, even if they could afford it. Why? Is it guilt or is it a feeling that no one else could do the job as well as we could? Or, maybe it's a combination of the two. But, the survey found that we're hurting ourselves with our attempts to be supermom. The women who delegated tasks to their spouses reported being more satisfied than the non-delegators. So go ahead and send your husband to the grocery store. Maybe he'll buy the wrong kind of bread, but maybe that's okay.

Forget the four-letter F-word, it's the three-letter F-word we need to worry about
Hollywood body standards are thinner than ever, but Americans are heavier than ever. We're a country obsessed by weight and many worry about what that's doing to our children. According to CNN, kids as young as three-years-old worry about their weight and preschoolers know that fat is bad and thin is good. Some say that the ultimate playground insult these days is to call another kid fat. Of course, parents who worry a lot about their weight are more likely to have kids who worry about their weight. But, some say that even if you never let the three-letter F-word slip from your lips, chances are your kid knows from a very early age that fat's not the way they want to be. Even if you've banned Barbie and princess movies from your home, chances are your child's absorbed the message that fat people are evil, stupid and lazy. So often on TV, in movies and in books, fat characters are portrayed as bad and dumb, while thin characters are portrayed as good and smart. Everything from magazines to toys reinforce our ideals. What's a parent to do? Some advise that we stop talking about food in moral terms. Don't declare that you were "bad" today by eating that slice of cake. They also advise that you talk with your kids about your values and how you treat people, regardless of their weight. Talk about those values with other people, when you know your kids are listening as well. 

George Clooney, eternally cute AND he loves his mom
Even if you're one of Hollywood's biggest and hottest superstars, if you've got but one call to make, you're calling mom. As you've undoubtedly heard (at least a few times), George Clooney was recently arrested for protesting outside of the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. So, who did his handsomeness call when he got sent to the big house? According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Georgie Peorgie called his mama. When asked who his one phone call was to, Clooney said “My Mother. Some things never change.” Dang, just when you thought he couldn't get any more attractive...

You got your period? Let's Party!
Oh, honey! You got your period! You're a woman now! Let's celebrate! With a cake and a party and fun games like "puberty bingo" and "pin the ovaries on the uterus." Although it seems like it might be a gag from The Onion, period parties, or menarche parties, are the real deal. As Lovelyish first reported, there's even a company that will sell you all the supplies you need, except the tampons. But, if you're in need of a personalized cake, declaring "Happy Menarche" (although we prefer a "Go with the Flow, Girl!" message, ourselves), they can help. Want a "Life's a Cycle" greeting card? They've got you as covered as a belted sanitary napkin.

Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at