April 24, 2012 at 7:16 PM ET
Is today's fascination with gender-neutral clothing for kids merely the latest retro fashion trend? These days, we associate pink with all things feminine, while blue is a distinctly masculine shade. But, according to Smithsonian Magazine, that wasn't always the case. In fact, up until World War I, all baby and toddler clothing was a gender-neutral white (easy to bleach out all of those stains, without fading the fabric) and kinda girly, with everyone wearing skirts. Then, pastels came into vogue for fashionable tykes. But, even as late as 1927, everyone from Filene's in Boston to Marshall Field in Chicago, thought that pink should be for boys because it was a stronger color, while dainty blue was more suitable for girls. Sometime in the 1940's, the colors flipped and there they've stayed. That's not to say that it's been segregated along gender lines ever since. The feminist movement in the 1970's put an end to gender-specific colors for a while and there were a couple of years back then when the Sears catalog didn't feature even one, single pink item for toddlers. Gender-neutral clothing remained pretty popular until the mid-1980's, when retailers started adding things like footballs to blue clothes and flowers to pink clothes, as prenatal testing allowed parents to know a baby's gender (and shop accordingly) before he or she was born. It's been pointed out that these gender-specific embellishments limit the number of clothes parents can pass down from one kid to the next, if they happened to have both a boy and a girl, guaranteeing that we buy more kids' clothes today than parents in the past did.
cui ru shi (translated to "push milk teacher") hot new job in China
When you think about hot, new jobs, you probably think of something in IT or green technologies. But, in China, one of the hot, new jobs is breast masseuse. To help breastfeeding moms whose ducts are clogged -- sheesh, get your mind out of the gutter. As Chinese women rush to give birth in the Chinese Lunar Year of the Dragon, a cottage industry of maternity-related services is taking off. As the Shanghai Daily reports, "lactogogues" give nursing moms 90-minute massages for about $48, making breast massage one of the most lucrative gigs in the post-partum care job market. These milk-flow specialists have become so popular that they can now earn double what they did just five years ago, when the job first started getting recognized. They can also earn three times what a maternity maid would earn, living with a new mother and her baby for the first month of the infant's life. The massage is a bit of a departure from traditional treatments for clogged ducts, which included methods like running a wooden comb over the breast or placing fermented dough on them.
Is prom spending out of control?
Nails, hair, make-up, dress, flowers, limo, venue. Nope, we're not talking about a wedding, we're talking about prom. When it comes to big nights out, prom often comes in second only to one's wedding. Now, the amount of money families are spending on prom is starting to inch up towards a wedding budget. ABC News reports that families spend an average of $1,000 on prom. One Texas mom is undoubtedly going way over the national average with the over-the-top prom queen campaign she's holding for her daughter. Her daughter's face can be seen on a billboard, and in newspaper ads, with the plea to "Vote Becky Day for Prom Queen." She's also handed out flyers and arranged for local businesses to carry the message on their reader boards. But, as the mom rationalized, "it (prom) only happens once in your child's life."
Happy Father's Day x87
One prolific papa in the Netherlands is the father to 87 children and has five more on the way. This dedicated sperm donor has been making deposits for more than 10 years. What sets him apart, aside from his forest of a family tree, is the fact that only about half of those donations are delivered via artificial insemination. This, of course, means that the other half of the donations were delivered the old-fashioned way... As Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports, Ed Houben wasn't happy with the policies of Dutch sperm banks, so he began freelancing and set up his own website. He finds that heterosexual couples, in particular, find artificial insemination to be somehow lacking and request that he make an in-person deposit instead. While some women come to him, he's also known to travel abroad to visit his recipients. Ed doesn't discriminate and is happy to contribute to heterosexual couples, lesbian couples and single women alike. His offspring have the chance to meet and mingle with their multitude of siblings every year at his annual get-together. But, the demands of keeping up with the menstrual cycles of 10 to 15 women a month are starting to get to this 43-year-old, who's thinking he may have to retire in a few years.
Awesome daddy-daughter project involves restoring old car for teen's first ride
If life was a John Hughes' movie, 16-year-old girls would be given the keys to a cute, new car on their birthday, and then the hottest guy at school would offer to teach them to drive. But, life's not a John Hughes' movie and sometimes the way a teenage girl comes by her first ride is even better. One Michigan teen will get a fully-restored Pontiac Fiero for her 16th birthday and it'll be exactly the way she wants it to be -- because she's the one who restored it. According to the Huffington Post, Kathryn DiMaria first decided she wanted the car when she was just 12 years old. She saved up her babysitting money and, along with her dad's help, has been busy restoring it ever since. In between school and soccer practice, this ambitious, mechanically-inclined gal has been hard at work restoring the car for two years now. Kathryn and her dad have been blogging about their father-daughter project for over a year now and checking out some of the pictures of her, hard at work are incredibly impressive -- especially considering that she's still only 14.
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.