Jan. 5, 2012 at 6:06 PM ET
Moms -- we're generally a pretty sweet and huggable bunch, until you threaten our children's lives, that is. Then, you best watch out. Those mama bears on the nature shows have nothing over us, human moms, when it comes to protecting the lives of our cubs. One young mom recently proved that to be true after she shot and killed an intruder in her home. "It was either going to be him or my son... And it wasn’t going to be my son,” this protective mama said. After two intruders broke into her home, she quickly went into a bedroom, gave her three-month-old baby a bottle, then grabbed the phone and a shotgun. When the intruders broke down the door to the bedroom and brandished a large hunting knife, she shot one of them (all while keeping that baby fed and talking to a 911 dispatcher on the phone, no less). This poor gal has had more than her fair share of bad luck and tough times lately. In addition to the intrusion, she became a widow at the tender age of 18, when her husband died of lung cancer on Christmas day. We sure hope this mom's luck turns around, pronto.
Forget milk, babies do a body good
Okay, we clearly know that moms will do anything to protect the lives of our children (see the story above if you don't believe us). But, did you know that those wee babies help save our lives, too? New research shows that a baby's fetal cells stay in a mother's body, even after she's given birth. These fetal cells are believed to help keep moms healthy, reducing their risk for breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. They can even help speed up healing and reduce scarring by migrating to the site of an injury.
Older kids do a body good, too
When their fetal cells aren't busy protecting their mom's health, these little babies grow up into big seven-year-old kids, who sometimes save their grandma's lives as well. A young, Mississippi girl is credited with doing just that after she called 911 when her grandma, who was watching her, had a seizure. This little girl was aware of her grandma's history of seizures and knew just what to do, even giving dispatchers the right address. The dispatch supervisor said, "To have the little girl do that, it brings a smile to my face." Undoubtedly, she brought a smile to her grandma's face as well. Paramedics advise teaching kids what to do in an emergency as young as possible. Be sure to keep a phone in their reach, teach them how to dial 911, and make sure they know what their address is. Also, if a regular caregiver has a history of medical problems (like this grandma does), make kids aware of it. The information they have could be life-saving one day.
Do safe daycares equal less exercise?
So... you've got your kid in a top-notch, super safe, daycare. Too bad that focus on safety is likely curbing his exercise. New research shows that safety concerns in child care centers are limiting the amount of exercise kids get. Worried about injury, centers tend to keep the activities on the calmer side. Strict state licensing codes, regulating play equipment, were also seen as a factor in limiting the amounts of physical play kids get. The study found that child care centers also responded to parental concerns about academics by cutting out more active time.
Teens -- the answer is, maybe
Parents of teens often find themselves bombarded with a modern-day litany of Mother-May-I questions. Mom, can I go to the...mall, party, skateboard park? The answer: It depends. One mom of a 13-year-old, has found this constant question has an ever-changing answer. The same basic activity may elicit a different answer depending on everything from the time of day the activity's happening at, to which other kids are involved. She's finding that, as her son gets older, there are fewer hard-and-fast rules and more case-by-case situations.
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. She is currently developing an alarm clock that will start an IV coffee drip 10 minutes prior to wake-up time. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.