Growing up, few of us knew a kid with a food allergy. Growing up, our children will know few kids without a food allergy. As allergies have become increasingly common and increasingly severe, parents, school administrators and lawmakers are trying to figure out how deal with it all. Peanut-free tables in the lunchroom used to be the standard solution, but now many are considering expanding policies and responses. Last year, the Illinois state legislature passed a law encouraging schools to keep a supply of epinephrine on hand in case of allergic emergencies. A number of other states are considering following suit. Some people are hoping that along with first aid training, teachers will soon be trained in how to administer an EpiPen, something that only a school nurse can do in many schools. Massachusetts passed a law a few years ago, requiring that all restaurant managers receive food allergy training. Parents of allergic kids have welcomed the increase in awareness. One parent whose child has food allergies was delighted when a party invite included not just R.S.V.P. information, but also a request to notify the hostess about any food allergies. Do your kids have food allergies? If so, what do you wish schools and other parents would do to help keep them safe?
Teen girls are linguistic pioneers?
Like, get out of here? For reals. Did your parents bemoan Valley-girl talk when you were a teen? Now, do you bemoan your teenage daughter's use of the word "like" and her tendency to make statements that come out sounding like a question? Stop your fretting, she's not killing the English language, she's a linguistic trailblazer. Some linguists say that teen girls are especially attuned to changes in how language is used and are at the forefront of “pioneering vocal trends and popular slang.” Some even say that the filler words and use of "uptalk" is actually a way for girls to exert authority and emphasis. Umm, like, no way?
Kids who play "active" video games still couch potatoes
Sorry parents, chances are your Wii isn't giving your wee ones the workout you'd hoped for. Since Pong first made its debut back in the 1970's, parents have been wary of the couch-potato-inducing tendencies of video games. When more active video games, like Dance Dance Revolution, danced their way into living rooms a few years ago, things started looking up. Maybe kids could still get exercise at home on rainy days or in neighborhoods where it's just not safe to play outside. Alas, it's not looking like that's happening. Researchers were shocked when a new study showed that kids with so-called active video games didn't get any more exercise than kids with more sedentary games. The study was conducted amongst nine-to-12-year-olds who were overweight. However, some hopefully wonder if the monitors the kids wore didn't fully track all of the children's movements during the games. Does your family have a Wii or Kinect? Do you think your kids get their heart rates going playing those games?
Yet another doped-up visit to the dentist winds up on YouTube
Hey kids, if your parents are going to pick you up from the dentist and there's any chance at all that you've had anesthesia -- take away their cell phones and camcorders. You know they're going to film you at your drooliest, dopiest moment and then upload it to YouTube. After that one kid's post-dentist video went viral, it seems that parents bring camcorders along on every trip to the orthodontist. Now another video's making the rounds. It got posted quite a while ago but it seems like everyone's just noticing it now. This time a teenage girl who's had her wisdom teeth pulled can't figure out what's in her mouth. (It's gauze, sweetie.) While some people find it hilarious, others think it's rude and insensitive for parents to post embarrassing pictures and videos of their kids online. What do you think?
Barbie's from District 12
Sorry Bella, we know your life is immortal since you're a vampire and all, but your time has come and gone. Now, it's all Katniss, all the Hunger Games-loving time. Even Barbie's a fan. You heard that right, the Capitol (erm, Mattel) is releasing a Katniss Barbie doll. No word yet on which of the fire-wearing heroine's ensembles the doll will be sporting, though we can only assume she'll have a Mockingjay pin... While many people are eagerly awaiting such a tough, no-nonsense Barbie to inspire their little girls with, others aren't so enthralled. Some are wondering how a survivor like Katniss got herself entangled with the likes of Barbie. Some Barbie-lovers think Katniss is maybe not lady-like enough for the iconic doll. And, still others are wondering if girls who are young enough to play with Barbies should be exposed to such harsh and gruesome plotlines.
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.