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parenting and children

Fowl Language by Brian Gordon


Brian Gordon is a cartoonist. He's also a dad, which means he's got plenty of inspiration for the parenting comics he creates for his website, Fowl Language (not all of which actually feature profanity).

He covers many topics, but it's his hilarious parenting comics that are resonating with parents everywhere.

"My comics are largely autobiographical," Gordon tells me. "I've got two kids who are 4 and 7, and often, what I'm writing happened as recently as that very same day."


Gordon shared 15 of his oh-so-real comics with us. They're all funny 'cause they're true.

Let's get started with his favorite, "Welcome to Parenting," which Gordon says sums up his comics pretty well. "Parenting can be such tedious drudgery," he says, "but if it wasn't also so incredibly rewarding there wouldn't be nearly so many people on the planet."

Truth.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

1.

parenting, comics, humor

“Welcome to parenting."

via Fowl Language

All comics are shared here with Gordon's express permission. These comics are all posted on his website, in addition to his Facebook page. You can also find a "bonus" comic that goes with each one by clicking the "bonus" link. Original. Bonus.

2.

food allergies, fussy, picky eaters

Eating is never fundamental.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

3.

sleep deprivation, children, isolation

Adjusting the coping mechanism.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

4.

ducks, birds, fowl

I used to be cool.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

5.

naps, popcorn, movies

Naps happen.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

6.

politics, advice, education

Rolling with the punches.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

7.

emotions, therapy, emotional maturity

Tears happen.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

8.

insomnia, sleep deprivation, kids

It’s time to get up.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

9.

psychology, toddlers, family

The benefits of experience.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

10.

babies, diapers, responsibility

Is it gas?

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

11.

sociology, grief counseling, dads

Everyone gets therapy, yea.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

12.

moms, dress up, costumes

Everyone has a role to play.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

13.

doctor, medicine, pediatrics

What’s up doc?

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

14.

sports, competition, aggression

Everyone gets a participation ribbon.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

15.

theatrics, advice, Dan Gordon

Perception shifts.

via Fowl Language

Original. Bonus.

I love Gordon's comics so much because they're just about the reality of parenting — and they capture it perfectly.

There's no parenting advice, no judgment, just some humor about the common day-to-day realities that we all share.

When I ask him about the worst parenting advice he's ever received, Gordon relays this anecdote:

"I remember being an absolute sleep-deprived wreck, sitting outside a sandwich shop, wolfing down my lunch quickly beside my 1-month-old son, who was briefly resting his lungs between screaming fits.

A rather nosy woman walked up to me and said, all smugly, 'You should enjoy this time while they're easy.' It was the exact worst thing anyone could have said to me in that moment and I just wanted to curl up on the sidewalk and cry."

Who hasn't been on the receiving end of totally unneeded and unwanted advice? That's why Gordon's comics are so welcome: They offer up a space for us to all laugh about the common experiences we parents share.

Here's to Gordon for helping us chuckle (through the tears).


This article originally appeared on 07.11.16

Canva

Important summer tips.

In 2008, a young boy named Johnny Jackson went swimming and accidentally swallowed some water.

He had a short coughing fit, toweled off, and then went home. No big deal.

Or so his parents thought.


A few hours later, after going down for a nap, Johnny passed away.

In 2014, a toddler named Ronin came frighteningly close to the same fate. He slipped briefly into a pool before being pulled to safety by his mother. Ronin was shaken up but seemed fine.

Later that night, he lay stretched out in an ambulance as it screamed toward the hospital, where he arrived just in time.

Stories like these have resulted in an outburst of news coverage around what's being referred to as "dry drowning." But that's a bit of a misnomer.

Since we're entering the season of pool parties and beach trips, here are a few things you really need to know about what actually happened to Ronin and Johnny.

First, there is a difference between dry drowning and delayed drowning.

With dry drowning, water never enters the victim's lungs. Rather, it causes the vocal chords to spasm and shuts off airways without actually filling the lungs with water. Otherwise, it looks a lot like normal drowning because it occurs in real time and causes asphyxiation.

Delayed drowning, sometimes called secondary drowning, is a bit different. In cases like Ronin and Johnny's, water gets into the lungs in small amounts — not enough to disable breathing right away. Instead, it sits there and inhibits the lungs' ability to oxygenate blood. From there, the victim starts to have more and more trouble breathing over the course of several hours.

Second, drowning doesn't look the way it does in the movies.

Whether you're dealing with normal, dry, or delayed drowning, don't expect a dramatic scene full of thrashing, coughing, and yelling.

According to Dr. Anna Mendenhall of the Children's Physicians Medical Group, 9 out of 10 children who drown do so even though they were being supervised by a parent because it's so easy to miss the signs.

Here's what you need to look for, even hours after you've left the pool or beach:

  • Difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain, or throwing up. Look for rapid and shallow breaths, nostril flaring, or a pronounced gap in the ribs when breathing. These are all signs a child is working too hard to get oxygen.
  • Extreme tiredness. Big-time fatigue can be a sign that the brain isn't getting enough oxygen.
  • Any odd change in behavior. Kids in the beginning stages of delayed drowning may be really cranky, argumentative, or combative.
  • Odd physical changes. Look out for blue lips or pale skin.

Most likely these symptoms will go away over time. But if they don't or they get worse, you might want to call your pediatrician on the way to the emergency room.

And the best way to watch for drowning in the moment? Get in the pool with your kids and stay within an arm's reach. It's the only way to make sure you don't miss anything.

Third, don't panic. Delayed and dry drownings combined make up only 1% to 2% of all drowning incidents.

There's no getting around it. This is really scary stuff, especially to a parent.

I have a 2-month-old daughter, and my first reaction to all of this is to literally never let her near a swimming pool. Ever.

But as scary as they are, these unusual cases are just that — unusual.

It's a really good idea teach your kids about basic water safety and get them comfortable in the pool with swim lessons at an early age (experts say 4 or 5 is a good age to start). But I'll say it again:

The single best thing you can do to protect a child from drowning — wet, dry, or otherwise — is to get in the pool with them.

As long as you're prepared, pools can be great for fun things like throwing your children! Photo from Thinkstock.

At least until they're old enough to be embarrassed by your presence.


This article originally appeared on 07.02.15

Photo from Pixaba7

Having the courage to report to the police when things appear off.

When you see or hear an Amber Alert, what do you usually do?

Sometimes it's the middle of the night, and the buzz of your cell phone stirs you out of a deep sleep before you can silence it. Other times, the alert interrupts your favorite song on the radio. Maybe you wait patiently for it to end. Maybe you change the station.


After all, who hasn't wondered, "What are the odds?"

Sure, the alerts are heartbreaking, but what are the odds you'll bump into the missing kid? What are the odds you'll see the getaway car? What are the odds you'll be able to do anything about it? Turns out, better than you think.

Here are five stories of people who suddenly found themselves face to face with a kidnapped child ... and rose to the occasion.

High intensity situations require calm nerves and quick thinking. Kudos to these people for noticing the Amber Alerts at the right time and, in some cases, for having the courage to act right then and there.

1) 2-year-old Ronnie Tran was found when his baby sitter, John Tuong, saw an Amber Alert ... for Ronnie.

John Tuong had no idea he was baby-sitting a missing kid.

Ronnie was kidnapped by his 65-year-old maternal grandmother, who, along with an accomplice, had attacked and restrained his mother. She left Ronnie with a family friend, John Tuong, who merely thought he was baby-sitting his sister's boyfriend's son.

Tuong saw an Amber Alert on his phone the next morning and realized the kid in the alert was actually asleep in the next room. John called the police immediately and Ronnie made it home safe.

2) 6-year-old Kloe was taken from her bed on February 21, 2015. Thanks to a gas station employee, she was back home on February 22.

Kloe was abducted in the middle of the night by a family friend. After she was reported missing, an Amber Alert went out, which, luckily, was seen by a clerk at a local gas station. The clerk recognized Kloe from the alert and tipped off police that he had seen the girl, the man who had taken her, and the van he was driving.

The clerk's account helped police narrow their search, and Carlin was eventually stopped on the interstate by a trooper, some 300 miles from Kloe's home, and taken into custody.

Kloe made it home to her family safe and sound the next day.

3) Leah and Jordan's kidnappers' RV broke down. The cops that pulled over to help had just seen the Amber Alert.

Amber Alerts aren't just for bystanders, they're for law enforcement too.

After 3-year-old Leah and 4-year-old Jordan were taken by relatives of their mother, the kidnapper's RV broke down on the side of the highway. Two deputies stopped by the vehicle to try to help them get back on the road. Luckily, the deputies had seen the Amber Alert and recognized the kids inside the vehicle.

Both made it back home safely the next day, but who knows what might have happened had the RV not broken down or if the cops weren't on the lookout for the missing kids.

4) A stranger stole a car with 3-year-old Bella inside. Later, a quick-thinking bystander physically pulled her to safety.

Leslie and Bella pose inside her bakery, Mini Cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Leslie Fiet, used with permission.

A strange woman asked to bum a cigarette from Bella's father as he walked into the 7-Eleven convenience store. He gave it to her. Then, the woman jumped in the car, with Bella still inside, and drove off.

Later on, the owner of a local cupcake bakery, Leslie Fiet, spotted the car after seeing the Amber Alert and she heroically pulled Bella from the backseat.

"My initial thought was to call 911 (when I discovered the car) but then I looked closer and saw Bella was in a tremendous amount of stress, hyperventilating and crying," Fiet told ABC News. "I just dropped my phone and ran out the door."

She locked Bella, and herself, inside the bakery until Bella's parents and police could arrive.

5) A pizza shop employee on her break spotted 7-year-old Nicolas and followed his kidnapper until police could arrive.

Courtney was brave to follow the kidnapper; and it paid off. Photo courtesy of KRIS TV.

Courtney Best, who was working at a small pizza shop in Corpus Christi, Texas, saw an Amber Alert on her phone while on her smoke break. She looked up and just happened to see the vehicle in question, a white Dodge Avenger, sitting in the parking lot in front of her with a child inside.

She followed the car, while on the phone with police, as it drove away.

"Cause, what are the odds? What are the odds of me looking at my phone?" Courtney told KrisTV. "And I usually don't even look at Amber Alerts, as bad as that sounds. I look at them and I don't really pay attention."

Thanks to her quick thinking, the police were able to recover Nicolas and return him safely to his family.

According to Robert Hoever of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, about 95% of Amber Alerts are resolved within 72 hours.

Robert, who is Director of Special Programs at the NCEMC, told Upworthy, "You can definitely see a huge change in how fast children are recovered today. The technology out there today helps."

In addition to wireless alerts, his organization also partners to issue alerts via Internet service providers, search engines, Internet ad exchanges, and even digital billboards.

And, Robert adds, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this, with any sort of information about a missing child, call 911 before you do anything. Emergency personnel will be able to help you navigate the situation.

We see a lot of Amber Alerts go viral, which is great, but we don't often get to see the happy endings.

Sadly, not every Amber Alert ends with a reunion. But the more we share these alerts with our networks, the more people they reach and the more likely they are to be seen by the right people.

In the meantime, it's comforting to know that most of these kids eventually make it home safely.


This article originally appeared on 08.10.15

It's time to rethink the term 'geriatric pregnancy' as more women wait to have children

Women are having children well past 40 but are considered "geriatric" after 35.

Rethinking the term 'geriatric pregnancy' as more women wait for kids

In more recent decades, women have started to delay having children or decide to not have them at all. Society has been taught that women must have children when they're in their 20s because that's when fertility is highest. Unfortunately it's true that fertility declines as women age, but pregnancy is still possible up until menopause.

Even if someone previously didn't want children, with technology they have the option to change their minds much later in life. Many women have taken to the idea of having more life and career experience before brining about children. But the language around pregnancy in women over 35 is still pretty offensive.

This now more common phenomenon of waiting until later in life to have children is medically called a geriatric pregnancy, though some doctors sugar coat it by calling it "advanced maternal age." Neither of these terms feels indicative of a warm feeling you're expected to experience while growing a child. BBC's The Global Story podcast blows through some pretty unfortunate misconceptions and truths about pregnancy after 35 in an interview with the Head of Reproductive Science and Sociology Group, UCL.


The two women co-hosting the podcast are both moms who waited to have children after the magic number. While having a baby after 35 is considered geriatric, some women are having babies into their 70s. Dr. Ssali says, "last week we successfully delivered this lady who was 70 years of age of twins, a boy and a girl. Previously we had treated her with IVF, again the same process, three years ago and she conceived and delivered a baby girl."

Of course choosing to have a baby in your 70s is well outside the normal age for childbearing, 35-50 isn't since many of these women are still capable of natural pregnancy without intervention. A woman's fertility decreases with age but it doesn't go down to zero until after menopause has fully set in. If it were impossible to conceive there wouldn't be a term called, "menopause baby," which simply means someone became pregnant during their perimenopausal phase.

Professor Joyce Harper, the head of reproductive science and sociology explains, that while women's eggs lose fertility over the years, the uterus never does. This is why IVF using donated eggs for older hopeful parents can be successful. The trend of later in life babies isn't one to soon end as the age a woman births her first child increases by one year every decade.

"The average age [for first time moms] globally is 28," Stephanie Hegarty, BBC Population Correspondent says. "60 years ago the average age was 22 and every decade it's gone up globally by about a year."

Hegarty expands on the thought by adding people can continue to have babies as they get older. But when it comes to why people are choosing to have children later in life, economics plays a big part in whether people decide to have children or not. Raising a child is expensive and the cost of living has only gotten more exorbitant while wages have stayed largely the same. The experts on the podcast also said girls and women becoming more educated has pushed desires for motherhood to later years.

It's certainly something to consider when it comes to terminology. If the trend of increasing average age for women delivering their first child continues, then in another few decades, 35 will be the average age. Will we still be calling it geriatric pregnancy or advanced maternal age, then? Maybe a language change is in order before we reach that stage.