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Healthy Essentials

As many parents know, preparing the kids for bed can be the best part of a parent’s day — or the most challenging.

As a mom who had three sons in four and a half years, I had to have a nighttime routine when the boys were little. At first, the tedious process of helping three young boys get ready for bed stressed me out. Who didn’t brush their teeth yet? Who can’t find his teddy bear? Who needs a cup of water at the exact moment when I finally sit down after they’re all tucked in?

Image via iStock.


Getting my sons to do all the things they needed to do was harder than herding cattle until I learned to make the best of it. Adding a ritual that had plenty of room for learning, bonding, fun, and error made bedtime the best part of our day. But we also didn't do the same thing every night because that would have made it predictable and boring and therefore more difficult to get them to cooperate.

For us, getting ready for bed became a time that enhanced the boys' sibling bond: helping each other find their favorite stuffed animals. Making sure they put their favorite toys away so they could grab them first thing in the morning. Sharing one good thing that happened that day and one thing they hoped would happen the next day. Sometimes they had realistic hopes, like "I hope we finger-paint at school," and sometimes it was "I hope the Polar Express comes to our house!"

Image by Tina Plantamura, used with permission.

It became a time for them to learn how to care for each other, to share stories of their day and their hopes for the next day, to create good hygiene habits (!), to laugh with each other — all things I hoped they'd carry into their teenage years and beyond.

But the biggest learning may have been mine: to enjoy these tender moments of childhood and trust, which help sweet little boys become loving young men.

In the hopes that it will be helpful to other families, here are 15 ways we made getting ready for bed something to look forward to:

Hint: Start early! I learned early on, what could possibly go wrong when putting three boys to bed? (Answer: everything!) Starting early makes time for mishaps and unexpected setbacks and surprises.

1. Bedtime starts at dinner time!

At the table, in the car at a drive-through (yes, you can still be an amazing parent while resorting to fast food), or in front of the TV, dinner time is wind-down time. We did our best to keep noise and excitement to a minimum.

2. Next up: bath time. Or quick shower time?

Three in the tub can be a project in itself. Tub time is full of lessons in taking turns. Who sits near the faucet? Who turns it off? Who washes the baby’s hair with JOHNSON'S® Baby Shampoo?

Image by Tina Plantamura, used with permission.

When we got home later than planned after visiting grandma’s house, sometimes the bath would become a quick shower instead. My boys always loved a long bath, but there isn’t always time for the tub and JOHNSON'S® Baby Bubble Bath.

3. Unless it’s too late for a bath or a shower.

Washing three sets of hands and three faces in the sink one after the other can take nearly as long as a bath sometimes. A quick wipe-down with JOHNSON'S® HEAD-TO-TOE® baby cleansing cloths can do the trick on those nights when the kids are tired and cranky after a long, fun day.

4. Towel time! (And pajamas and diapers and pull-ups and underwear.)

Getting three giggly boys dry and dressed was easier when they all helped each other. Each took turns putting the towels away and getting what the others needed.

5. Toothbrush time!

Photo via iStock.

Three kids means three different skill and patience levels with brushing teeth. If each one teaches the other a little (here are some tips and tricks they can use), it helps take the pressure off the parent who has to be the tooth-brushing police.

6. Last call!

...for water and sippy cups. As each child got old enough, they took turns getting the last call drinks of water or filling sippy cups for their brothers.

7. Put favorite toys to “sleep.”

Image via iStock.

That tiny wooden train and that favorite action figure can get lost in bed pretty easily. So they each had special places to sleep, and each child said goodnight to them.

8. Get in one bed. Whose bed?

We always snuggled up in one bed all together for a little while. Each child felt special when it was their turn to be the "host" on their bed.

9. Pick a story.

Photo via iStock.

Each night, a different child got to choose a story. Often, they requested the same story night after night until we all had it memorized.

10. If that drives you crazy, make up a story.

We took turns and made up stories together — one would begin the story and say “pass,” then another would develop the story for a couple of minutes and say "pass," then the next would add more to the story. Sometimes these stories were worthy of retelling night after night as well!

11. Remember why we started early?

An unexpected phone call? A legitimate bathroom break? An “I forgot I need to bring ____ to school tomorrow!” A stumble and fall that requires cuddles, a healing kiss, and a BAND-AID® Bandage? We have time for that!

12. Share your heart!

Image via iStock.

We each took a turn sharing one good thing that happened today.

13. Share your hope!

We each shared one thing we hoped would happen tomorrow. Small hopes: chocolate milk with breakfast, a sunny day. High hopes: a trip to Disney, a ride on a pirate ship. It’s important to dream big.

14. Hugs and kisses!

Before you know it, kids will be using their final moments before bed to talk to friends on the phone, to get homework done, or to read and study. Hug and kiss them right before the lights go out while they still ask you to.

15. Lights out!

Image via iStock.

Whose turn is it to turn off the light? Whose turn is it to pick up the littlest one when it’s his turn to turn off the light?

Above all, don’t sweat it. The world won't come to an end if one or more of these doesn’t happen once in a while!

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Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

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Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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