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6 reasons December babies are special, according to science

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If Santa is bringing you a baby this Christmas, consider your little elf lucky. This month is actually the rarest time for birthdays (with the 24 and 25 being the rarest birthdays of all), so December babies are special from birth.


Having a due date around now may mean future birthday parties will potently conflict with Christmas parties, but it also means your child will grow up knowing that their special day is during the month most kids feel is the most magical.

Here are a few other statistical gifts December babies get:

Easy mornings and early bedtimes

A study of Italian and Spanish university students found those born around December were significantly more likely to be morning people than those born in the summer. Other studies have shown that kids born this time of year tend to fall asleep earlier too (yay!).

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Being the youngest in class

A lot of parents expecting December babies fret about how their kiddo will likely be the youngest in their kindergarten class, but that may actually be a good thing.

Research indicates there are academic benefits to being the youngest in one's class. It's hard to be the smallest one in kindergarten, but by the time they're applying for college, the youngest kids are actually outperforming the older ones.

Most likely to be a dentist

Census researchers in the UK found December born babies are the most likely to grow up to work as dentists, according to The Guardian. It's never too early to start teaching your baby about oral health!

Left-handedness

December-born boys are more likely to be left-handed, according to research out of the University of Vienna. A study of 13,000 adults revealed, 7.5% of women and 8.8% of men were left-handed. When they looked at the male birthdates, researchers found most left-handed men were born between November 1 and January 1.

They're a Sagittarius or a Capricorn

If you believe in astrology, whether you have your baby before or after the 21st will make a difference (and not just when it comes to planning birthday parties so close to Christmas). Those born from December 1 to December 21 fall under the Sagittarius sign and are said to be extroverts who like travel. From December 22 to 31 you're a Capricorn, determined and helpful.

Time to grow hair as white as Santa's

Christmas-time babies have been noted as having the best statistical chance of living beyond 100 years old.

Common complaints about December birthdays involve the proximity to the holiday season. Nobody (especially not a child) wants to feel like their birthday is an afterthought, but when families celebrate a December baby's special day their smiles can outshine the brightest Christmas lights.

[Originally published November 28, 2017]

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Among the many little things we truly miss from #lifebeforecoronavirus it's devouring the tasty treats from Disney. But it turns out you can create that same Disney magic at home.

The Disney Parks blog and app recently shared popular recipes as its parks continue to remain closed and the Dole Whip and churros are the exact sweets we need to get us through this challenging time.

For the unfamiliar, the Dole whip is a creamy, frozen pineapple treat that melts in your mouth. It's so refreshing and can be vegan and dairy-free, depending on the ingredients you use. If you're into baking, you'll love the traditional Spanish and Portuguese churro that the park sells more than 5.5 million of each year.

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That's a huge hit for the park, and we're hoping it's a winner for families, too.

Here's the Dole Whip recipe for a single serving according to the Disneyland app:


Ingredients:

  • 1 big scoop of ice cream
  • 4 oz of pineapple juice
  • 2 cups of frozen pineapple

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender until it's a thick drink.
  • Add your swirl and then you're done.

And, here's the churro recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

Instructions:

  1. Combine water, butter, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in 1 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring pot to rolling boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Add flour and stir vigorously until mix forms a ball. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir until combined. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in medium skillet or one-quart saucepan over medium-high heat or until temperature reaches 350 degrees.
  6. Spoon dough into piping bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe one-inch strip of dough over saucepan, cut with knife, and drop into hot oil. Repeat until churro bites fill saucepan with room to fry.
  7. Fry churro bites until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon or mesh spider strainer.
  8. Drain churro bites on paper towel.
  9. Mix sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in medium bowl. Toss in churro bites until coated. Place on serving plate and serve with favorite dipping sauce.
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Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are abiding by social isolation recommendations with their 5-year-old son, Silas. The family of three has been holed up in their vacation home in Montana and while Timberlake says they're doing good (and grateful to be in a place where they have some outdoor space for Silas) he admits he and Biel are missing having help.

During an interview with SiriusXM's Hits 1 this week Timberlake was asked how his marriage is holding up under the stress of isolation. "We're doing good," he said. "We're mostly commiserating over the fact that 24-hour parenting is just not human. It's not. "

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He's not wrong. Parenting isn't something we are supposed to do in isolation. Throughout history, we've had support from extended family, friends and our communities, the proverbial village. And now we don't have that, which means we don't have breaks from our kids—something Timberlake is missing.

Justin Timberlake on Being in Quarentine with Wife Jessica Biel youtu.be

He says sometimes even Silas looks up at him with an expression that shows he is needing some space from his dad, too. "Just a commercial break," Timberlake jokes.

We all need a commercial break from our kids sometimes. Experts say that in these tense times when togetherness is necessary and our kids need us more than ever, we also need to carve out space when we can by doing things like waking up 15 minutes before our kids do for a quiet coffee break, or maintaining a bedtime schedule to allow for some adult time at night.

Encouraging independent play is another way for parents to get some space when they need it. According to Biel, Silas (who just turned five this week) is super into Legos right now, so maybe he can build some projects on his own the next time he needs a commercial break from this dad.

News

A lot of people remember actress Jennifer Stone for her teenage role opposite Selena Gomez on Wizards of Waverly Place, but these days the 27-year-old actress is all grown up and has a new career as a registered nurse.

Stone still acts, but she's also been busy pursuing a career in nursing and graduated at the end of last year. On #worldhealthday this week she posted a photo of her hospital IDs, and later added an Instagram Story showing off her scrubs and nursing shoes for a day of work at the hospital as an RN resident.

"I just hope to live up to all of the amazing healthcare providers on the front lines now as I get ready to join them," she captioned the pic of her hospital IDs.

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Stone's post is going viral and reminding people that nurses are the real superstars in our society right now.

Nurses are the backbone of the fight against COVID-19, but we don't have enough of them, the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out this week. WHO says globally, we're about 6 million nurses short of how many we need to fight this pandemic, and notes that about 90% all nurses are female but few nurses (or women) are found in senior health leadership positions.

"Nurses are the backbone of the health system," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week. "Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19. This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy."

Meanwhile nurses and the unions supporting them continue to raise the alarm about the lack of personal proactive equipment (PPE) and N95 masks for these critical workers. Nancy Nielsen, former president of the American Medical Association recently told CNBC that it's important to understand that "health-care workers are at risk, and they need to be protected with protective gear to prevent infection," and that "these women [in health-care professions] also have responsibility to take care of parents, who are older, and school-aged children...So their lives are enormously impacted by worrying about elderly relatives and by school closures."

Nursing is a career that doesn't get enough respect in our society, and while we need more nurses, it's hard to get them right now. Stone's December graduation made it easier for her work than the students who would be graduating next month and are stuck without necessary requirements.

Stone went viral this week because it's not every day that you see a Disney Channel star switch to hospital scrubs, but we have to remember all the nurses that are working to save lives with little recognition or support. Kids are still watching Stone on old Wizards of Waverly Place reruns, but society needs to watch out for women she'll be working beside, too.

News

So much has changed for our kids in recent weeks. The normal routines are gone, they can't see their friends and extended family (or in some cases, even their first responder parents). If you're noticing your child regressing a bit during this difficult time, don't worry, mama. It's totally normal if your preschooler is suddenly wanting to pretend to be a baby or if your school-age child wants way more cuddles and comfort than they did two months ago.

Here's what you need to know about child regression during the coronavirus pandemic:

Regression is a totally normal response to what's going on in the world.

Little kids don't have the vocabulary or experience to tell us that they are stressed and in need of comfort. Instead, they might say "pretend I'm a baby" or ask for lullabies you haven't sung in years. A potty-trained child might start having accidents and older kids may say "I can't do it" when asked to perform a task they have previously mastered.

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This does not mean you are failing, mama.

"Regression is typical in normal childhood, and it can be caused by stress, by frustration, or by a traumatic event," doctors Hermioni N. Lokko and Theodore A. Stern note in their research on the subject.

According to psychotherapist Noel McDermott, everyone (even us adults) is likely to regress or not function at our normal level during this pandemic. "Children are going to regress more than adults, and the younger the child, the more the regression is likely to be." McDermott tells The Huffington Post.

Comfort is key in addressing regression.

Regression can be frustrating for parents, especially during an already stressful time when everyone is locked in the house together. It's going to be frustrating to see a puddle of pee under your 6-year-old's feet or to have your preschooler throw tantrums you thought they'd outgrown.

It's okay to be frustrated, mama, but experts suggest that scolding or punishing a child who is regressing only makes it worse. We need to meet regression with kindness, comfort and open arms, even if our kids are refusing to do something we need them to do, like brush their teeth or wash their hands.

Dr. Laura Markham of AhaParenting tells Today "the best intervention is reassurance." Markham suggests parents offer a safe space to kids who are having a hard time and try using phrases like "'You are having such a hard time right now, aren't you? Don't worry, Sweetheart. I am right here to help.'"

She continues: "You step in, hold her kindly, make it fun, and get the hand-washing accomplished."

Recognize that you are your child's rock, but you are also human.

Parenting during a pandemic and economic recession is incredibly stressful. Alone time for moms was minuscule before and practically a fantasy now. You might be longing for a quiet moment. Our hearts melt the first time our children say "mama," but if your blood pressure rises when you hear it for the 10,000th time a day that's okay. It doesn't mean you're not a great mom, it just means you're stressed and so is your child.

"With more anxious children, they may be asking more questions than usual, and seeking reassurance that everything is going to be okay," Genevieve von Lob, a psychologist and author of "Happy Parent, Happy Child" tells The Huffington Post. "Parents may also find that their children are more unsettled at bedtime and are scared to be left alone."

But it is important that mama be left alone, sometimes. If you have a partner or another adult in your home this may mean that they take over caregiving to allow you to have an extra long shower or just some alone time in your bedroom. If you don't have another adult in the home, try to steal a moment for yourself where you can, even if that means the dishes go undone or the kids watch Frozen 2 for the 10th time.

"Try to be aware of your level of stress and anxiety and be kind to yourself," Dr. Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development tells Today. "Take 15 minutes in the morning to have coffee by yourself before children wake up."

Bottom line: Regression is natural, normal and hard.

Our kids express anxiety in ways that can be very difficult for parents. Sleeping and eating problems often develop when kids are stressed, and when you've been up all night worrying about how you're going to put food on your table during this economic turmoil it's hard to deal with a kid who is suddenly very picky about what you're serving for breakfast. But for kids, anxiety and stress often manifest as eating and sleeping issues.

It's rough, but this is the time where we need to come at our kids with kindness and connection. They need us more than ever. It's okay to sing a lullaby to 10-year-old or rock a 4-year-old to sleep. They need the extra cuddles right now.

We can't control how out of control the outside world has become, but we can help our children feel safe (even when the world isn't).

As psychologist and parenting coach Dr. Rebecca Schrag Hershberg previously wrote for Motherly: "Children show their stress in different ways: throwing more tantrums, being more moody, irritable or defiant, or regressing in a particular area such as language or potty training. However your kids are showing that they're worried—or even if they are not yet—there is nothing more valuable than giving them a hug and letting them know you've got them and it's all going to be okay."

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