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MIT professor shares his 'favorite new equipment' in his lab and it's seriously great

While childcare challenges facing women in the workplace have come under the spotlight during the pandemic, the issue isn't new. As one of the only nations in the world without guaranteed paid parental leave as well as one without broadly subsidized childcare, parents often have to weigh childcare costs with their earnings and make tough choices between work and family.

In academia, where graduate students are working toward a career but aren't fully into one yet, figuring out how to balance family and studies on a limited income is also a challenge, which is why one MIT professor's photo of an addition to his lab has people cheering.

Troy Littleton, professor of biology at MIT, shared a photo of a portable crib squeezed in between a desk and a cabinet and wrote:


"My favorite new equipment purchase for the lab – a travel crib to go in my office so my graduate student can bring her 9-month old little girl to work when necessary and I get to play with her while her mom gets some work done. Win-win!!"

A flood of comments praising the professor poured in, as people shared how their own professors or bosses had similarly supported them and their children.

The praise reinforced the fact that pursuing a profession and building a family are not mutually exclusive endeavors and that creating ways to help parents—especially mothers, who tend to be the primary caregivers during the earliest years of a child's life—balance both things is a valuable move. While bringing a baby to work wouldn't work under all circumstances, allowing for the option when it can work can make all the difference in the world.

Interestingly, sprinkled throughout the comments of praise were comments of befuddlement from people outside of the U.S. Questions like "Don't you have paid leave when you have a baby?" and "You mean there aren't free childcare facilities on-site?" from Europeans, Australians, etc. brought home the fact that this childcare/career conundrum is largely a uniquely American thing.

Like many "feel good" stories of individuals stepping up to fill a hole where a social safety net should be, professor Littleton's post almost seems a bit sad in light of these comments. It would be great if we could structure our systems to be more family-friendly as a matter of policy. At the same time, his offering a way for his student to continue her studies while taking care of her baby illustrates a sense of understanding and compassion our society needs more of.

Thank you, professor Littleton, for serving as an example and opening people's minds to what is possible.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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