Blogging with my daugther on my lap about cool and contoversial things happening in kids and parents lifes and spice it up with some shopping happenings from Cool Junior

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Baby fun with Evian!

Have you seen this ad from Evian? It will put immediatelly a silly smile on your face! Enjoy!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Custom babies

Can I have a baby? And please be sure is blue eyed, blond haired and pale skin...

Yesterday, I came across an interesting interview in, about a procedure done during the fertilisation in vitro named pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and used to scan embryos for cosmetic traits. The interview was with Mark Hughes, one of the fathers of PGD process.

The procedure has been used before to scan embryos for life-threatening diseases for children. Although it has been banned in many countries for gender selection, in US is still allowed and because of these permissive laws, the science behind it, progressed in a different direction to the point to offer customised babies. Fertility Institutes, a clinic in Los Angeles, already announced this service last December, but had to suspend it due to the public outrage.

Hughes was asked what he thinks about using this procedure by parents to choose cosmetic traits for their babies. According to him, these technologies are a natural extension to the choice of having a baby or not. He also believes that when people refer to this technique as creating ‘designer babies’ is an ‘insult to parents, because it says that parents basically don’t have their kids’ best interest at hart.’

Further, Mr. Hughes defended PGD process by saying that every parent wants to give its child the best choices in life. I’m wondering if the colour of their eyes or hair will really make a difference for their future.

Screening embryos for cosmetic characteristic is just the beginning. Currently there is no stopping that in the near future we will screen for social characteristics like intelligence. We already let a deaf lesbian couple in Chicago to choose a deaf baby. What is next? Aren’t we opening a door for more testing that will enable parents with money to create a super race of children? It seems to me that Hitler’s dream is about to become reality…

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Alice in Wonderland

Take a sneak pick at Tim Burton's new movie

Walt Disney Pictures has released the first promotional pictures of the new Tim Burton's movie Alice in Wonderland. For this, Burton casted his all time favourite actor Johnny Depp to be the Mad Hatter, Burton's wife Helena Bonhan Carter as the Red Queen and Anne Hathaway as the very pale looking White Queen.

The movie is set up to be a sequel and it starts when Alice is 17 and finds out that she will be proposed. She makes a run for it and follows the white rabbit down to Wonderland that she visited a decade ago. While the rabbit is convinced he has the right girl, Alice cannot remember Wonderland. All the animals in the kingdom are eagerly waiting for her to lead them to freedom, but will she be able to?

Other details revealed are: White Queen played by Anne Hathaway is very pale and eccentric who doesn't walk, but floats and Johnny Depp is lending his character Mad Hatter an 'indescribable' accent, according to the movie producer Richard Zanuck. All these are part of the dark feeling of the movie, which is Burton's movies signature if we think of cuddly Edward Scissorhands and the heartwarming Sweeney Todd.

Unfortunately, will have to wait for a while until the release which will happen in March 2010. Oh...sooo looking forward to it!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Donatella Versace and kids join hands together

During a trip to New York this week, to visit an art workshop that is sponsoring children in USA and China with life treatening disabilities, Donatella Versace gave present children a life time oportunity.

Her idea was that present children should draw and their work will be fashioned on canavas bags by the italian fashion house through shops in the entire world.

Anne Kurris for AW season at Cool Junior

All fans of graphic design will go crazy for Ann Kurris's cardigans. Soft and comfy, dipped in bright colours and surprising combinations, just beautiful!

Anne Kurris is a graphic designer with famous collaborations behind, such as Jean Paul Gautier and Dries Van Noten. In 1998, she started her children collection with a clear graphic approach. Her style is very modern and sophisticated: t-shirts with lots of prints or knitwear in bold colours. The designs are mostly a combination of romance and frivolity with almost a rough look.

The collection is positioned in the higher range and is always made of great fabrics: wool, cotton or silk.
You can find this cardigan and more at Cool Junior

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Clayeux summer treats!

I admit, I love to put my girl in summer dresses and I should do it a lot, before she grows up and starts assessing her own opinion of what she wants to wear. Made of pure cotton and combinig beautiful fun collours, Clayeux delivers great knitted dresses and cardigans to dress your girl for a summer day in the sun.

Get this summer treats dresses from Clayeux at Cool Junior, at very cool prices!

Men unite: fatherhood is good for your brain!

Our world is still pretty unfair to women, but men, as dads have their own struggle with the society stereotypes. Usually they have to chose between a label that portraits them as somebody who pays the bills and has no clue about taking care of a child or being the guy who likes children and people are wondering wheather he's pervert or wuss.

More than often we refer to parenting only in relation to mothers, but what about men who are hands on their children, buying and changing diapers, feeding their babies, evaluating schools? Aren’t they feeling left out by the society?

New researches initially held on mices, monkeys and now on humans show that, although men don’t go through the labour ordeal, loving a woman and being the father of their children can change his body and brain making him more resourceful while improving his ability to handle stress.

Peter Gray, a anthropology professor at Nevada University, finds testosterone, one of the important factors that influences the ‘daddy brain’. He’s been working with an international team, trying to analyse the neurochemistry of a man’s brain when he is dating and settle down. These studies found lower levels of testosterone in married men, while other studies found increased levels of prolactin (the hormone of lactation) and lower levels of sex steroids in men after their baby has been born. Prolactin helps new fathers to hear their baby cries, whereas lower level of testosterone makes them more sympathetic and more ready to respond to their babies.

Understanding how fatherhood process is triggered, we can have a more understanding approach of new fathers who take in their arms their new pink and screaming bundles and say ‘Eeou!’. I mean… new mothers have nine months of preparing for this motherhood role, whereas dads can start this process only once the baby has arrived.

Jay Fagan, professor of social work at Temple University believes that the best thing for future fathers to become more committed to their partner and their child after its been born is to be more involved during their partner's pregnancy and have an active role in birth preparations.
As for society and us, mummies, we should see men who become fathers, not as unmanly Mr. Mom, but as Super Dads.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

What if...? The future of reproduction

Science is heading into a new territory by creating the means to let a father carry a baby to term.Could women give up their natural right to be mothers?

by Andreea Lofgren

Two people find love, than follows marriage (or just leaving together) and than comes the baby. But what if the mother is a man?

The fact that a man who used to be a woman can become pregnant is old news now. He, Thomas Beatie and ex-she, gave birth recently to his second child, a baby boy, after giving birth last year to his daughter Susan Juliette.After going public with his second pregnancy, he said “The only thing different about me is that I can’t breastfeed my baby. But a lot of mothers don’t.” The news of a man giving birth to a baby stirred a lot of attention and some of it negative, making him declare that "We are a man, woman and child. It's ironic that we are so different but yet, we're just a family, just the same as anyone else,"
But things can become even weirder than this…male pregnancy! Now, the technology to create a baby from the DNA of two men is just one step away.Shinya Yamanaka, one of the world famous regenerative medicine scientists, outlined the idea of reprogramming stem cells to allow creating a new baby. How? A skilled biologist can take skin cells from one dad, reprogrammed it with a virus and transform it into an egg. Than take the sperm from the other dad, and bam!…you have a baby!
The only problem now is to keep the embryo healthy, as a baby made from DNA of two dads will most likely not develop properly. Rudolf Jaenisch, the co-founder of Fate Therapeutics, explains that with sperms and eggs, some genes are switched off through a natural process named imprinting. Men and women do the imprinting process differently. For the moment, Jaenich said there is no solution to this problem.
Another matter would be uterus. Well…scientist may have taken this problem out of the way too. Scientists from Edinburgh University consider there are two ways of getting a womb: building one from scratch, or import one from a willingly donor.Both scientists agree there are serious ethical issues here and they wouldn’t allow these experiments to take place under their supervision.
But, they cannot stop technology from developing either.When this will happen, scientist will get their answers, but I cannot help wondering if another battle of sexes will begin.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

To have success in life: Don’t eat that marshmallow!

The secret of self-control

In the late 60’s , psychologist Walter Mischel started a classic experiment. He would invite 4 years old in a room called ‘the game room’ at the Big Nursery School on Stanford University campus. The room was relatively small with a table and a chair. On the table you could see a tray full of sweet treats. The researcher made an offer to each participating child: you can eat a marshmallow right now, or you can wait a few minutes, while I will step out of the room, and when I will come back you can eat two.

Watching the experiment you see all kinds of reactions, while the children try to keep self control. Some of them gave in after just a few minutes and others, while kicking and hiding their eyes, managed to wait for 15 minutes until the scientist returned.

Analysing the results, Mischel discovered that children that were low delayer had problems in school and at home. They got low scores at SAT tests, they had problems maintaining friendships, struggle in stressful situations and to pay attention. On the other hand, higher delayer have better results in life. For example, Carolyn Weiss (one of the children participating in the experiment), attended the undergraduate programme at Stanford University and got a PhD diploma.

For decades, scientists argued that raw intelligence is the secret of success in life. But Mischel’s experiment tell us that self control is essential and that raw intelligence is at the mercy of self-control as even the most intelligent children have to do their homework.

“What we’re really measuring with the marshmallows isn’t will power or self-control,” Mischel says. “It’s much more important than that. This task forces kids to find a way to make the situation work for them. They want the second marshmallow, but how can they get it? We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.”

So Mischel’s experiment and everyday life shows us that kids who delayed gratification is correlated with socioeconomic status and parenting styles. Children who have self-control skills, can attend boring classes in order to get a degree and avoid drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, children that don’t have them, most likely will be a drop out and have a lifetime of foolish decisions such as teen pregnancy, gambling, drug use and crime.

Some scientist argue that, children coming from poor families exercise less self control skills as their life has been disrupted by violence , marital breakdown, etc and have the tendency to think short term rather than long term.

So, making sure that by creating a stable and predictable environment for kids in which good behaviour is paying off, will work in improving our children’s self control skills and give them a good start to have a successful life.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Do you think our children will ever get married?

by Andreea Lofgren

Watching Philip Weiss video about teenagers having sex at the Big Thing makes me wonder if our kids will ever get married .

Weiss is wondering if teenagers will be more creative when it comes to relationships models. The ‘Hooking-up model’, where teenagers just have sex, taking the emotional element out of this equation, creeps me out.

According to census data, the average marriage age jumped half a decade for the past 50 years. So why people take longer to tie the knot? Is it because it takes longer to grow up? Looking at our generation, this doesn’t come as a surprise, as it takes longer to finish school, longer to find a good full-time job and even more difficult to actually buy a house comparing to our parents opportunities. Also, seeing more people getting divorced over the past years, makes you wonder if marriage needs an image makeover?

Coming back to Weiss video, will our kids get hitched? I think they will, but the number will decline. And this is not because marriage needs a brand makeover, but because they will create new relationship models that fits better with their life style. I do hope they come up with better names than ‘Hooking-up model’!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Is there an IQ limit for being a mother?

by Andreea Lofgren

Yesterday, I read this story in Times Online about a woman who is denied the right to keep her three year old daughter for reasons of being ‘ not cleaver enough’ to be a mother. The court has informed the mother that her baby will be placed with an adoptive family within three months.

According to the news, the baby was born prematurely and the authorities felt that the mother , named Rachel, lacks the knowledge to take care of the baby’s medical conditions.

The Times reports that Rachel feels: “I have been totally let down by the system. All I want is to care for my daughter but the council and the court are determined not to let me.

“The court here has now ordered that my contact with my daughter must be reduced from every fortnight until in three months’ time it will all be over and I will never see her again.”

This situation forced Rachel to take her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, that can help her keep the child.

This story raises serious questions whether if there is an intelligence limit that women need to have in order to become mothers. Even more, how do you define this intelligence and how do you measure it?

The way this woman was treated by the justice system is appalling and the authorities in their crusade to secure an adoption family for the child, forgot instead to take measures to preserve the natural one.

I wonder, if this woman is consider not clever enough to raise her child, who sais that another woman is smart enough to do it?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The best careers for work-life balance

by Andreea Lofgren

The question of how to balance your work and family is a difficult one. The past two decades show that a great number of highly educated people choose jobs in finance. For this reason, many people expressed their worries that maybe the financial markets everywhere attracted too much of human resources that otherwise would have gone to different fields such as medicine, education, etc.

Now, this shift is felt even more by women who choose to pursue a career in finance and the cost is their struggle to keep a balance between career and family.

A research done by two Harvard alumni, answers college students question: which jobs offer the best choice of balancing work and family life?

The results show that finance is by far worst than law and academia. Another field that became increasingly popular over the past decades is consultancy. Medicine, on the other hand is looking promising as a highly paid profession with a lot of flexibility.

It’s a bit surprising to see medicine coming up as great career that allows work-family balance, when everybody knows that to become a doctor it take significant long study hours. But apparently, most doctors in their 30’s are presented with a wider set of options compared to candidates in other fields.

It’s true that certain medical specialities don’t allow a lot of flexibility, but a considerable number do. The same goes for public services jobs and master graduates in areas other than finances.

Group practices, when people share their work, is a growing in popularity. For example, a family’s obstetrician isn’t guarantee that he/she will deliver the baby (doctors take turns when they are on calls). Law and consultancy firms consider that work is too complicated to be passed from one employee to another, so they resist to approach this group work norm.

Research has shown that women largely prefer this type of work, but there is a growing hope that men will start take this kind of jobs too. (for the past decades men have increased their average time amount that they spent with their children).

Vintage sexism from a children's book

by Andreea Lofgren

This comes from a children’s book called ‘'I’m glad I’m a boy! I’m glad I'm a girl!’. The book was published in the 1950’ and was intended as a satire. The gender-based messaging is very straight forward. Nowadays is so much more subtle and nuanced.

I think we’ve come so far these days…
You can see the entire book posted here.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Mummy do you want an earth digger? I’ll buy you one!

Toddler almost throw his parents into ruin when she bought an earth digger online.

I think this story is as hilarious as it is disturbing: a New Zeeland couple, almost found themselves ruined by their three year old daughter, named Pipi, when she bought a digger on an internet auction.

Pipi’s mother, left the computer logged on after she was looking for toys online on an auction site . While she was asleep, Pipi tried her internet skills with the automatic log-in that her mom was using to access the auction website.

They found out the truth after receiving an e-mail requesting a payment of NZ$20,000 (£8,000) from the seller. The toddler’s family is lucky, as the seller doesn’t insist on the sale.

With this in mind, Sarah is urging other children’s parents to watch out for these kind of situations. "I've taken all my automatic log-ins off anything she could purchase from," she said.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

How ethical is to be an elderly mother?

A 66 years old business woman will become the oldest UK mother

by Andreea Lofgren

Today, in Sunday Times, I stumbled upon this piece of news: Elizabeth Munro, an UK business woman will give birth next month to her first baby and in early July she will celebrate her 67 anniversary. These two cornerstones will make her the oldest UK mother to give birth to a child. The news reignited the medical and ethical debate whether is good for elderly women to give birth.

Professor Severino Antinori, who is the IVF pioneer, said that Munro bided for motherhood a bit too late. In his opinion, the maximum age to have a child will be 63, because the average life expectancy is 83 and the average time when a child needs parents is between 18 to 20 years. This declaration fuelled a lot of debate around this pregnancy, and how ethical is.

Having treated more than 3000 women between 49 and 63 with IVF, Mr. Antinori declared he was shocked by the idea of Mrs. Munro giving birth of 67 years old and that she is taking a lot of risk, because any birth after 63 will not guarantee a loving mother for the baby.

Munro is described by her friends as very determent and private person, who doesn’t show her age. She was briefly married for 6 months to a business man and became step mother to his three grown up children. She has no siblings, and even to her friends this pregnancy came as a big surprise.

According to one of her friends declaration, she always wanted to have children, but they cannot understand why she waited for so long to make this step.

Margaret Murchie, former colleague at Delmore, the Suffolk business producing plastic products of which Munro is managing director, said ‘She is very dedicated to her work but she will make a good mother, I think.’’

Jane Page, the company secretary at Delmore, said: “Liz is a very focused and determined woman who would have considered things very carefully before she took a step like this. I was a bit surprised when she told me she was expecting a baby, but she knows what she is doing and, knowing her, would have made all the arrangements – I hear she has already hired a nanny.’’

Having build a strong business over the years, colleagues are expecting her to get back to work very soon, even with the new baby. A few years back she declared to one of her friends that if she would find somebody to run it, she might step down.

The questions here are: was she selfish for having a child of her own at this age? Why hasn’t she adopted years ago? Would it be fair for this baby to become orphan at 20 years old?

It’s hard to be in her shoes, but even if she feels strong and able to carry both a demanding career and a newborn at an age where the majority of people is playing golf and enjoying cruise vacations, there are great implication for an innocent person that is about to step out into this world.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Top iPhone Apps for New Mothers

by Andreea Lofgren

1. Photos

Trying to take a picture of your child can be very challenging. With Baby Cam's all sorts of noises including doorbells, drums and even songs you really have a great assistant to take your kid the perfect pick!

2. Nursing

Nursing tracker is the perfect organizer for early days of nursing. By using a tap record you can make notes of when was your baby last nursed, for how long and which side.

3. Health & Fitness

As I said to you before, breastfeeding for a month after giving birth won't get your old shape back. So Download to lose it! This application keeps track of your daily intake of calories and how much you burn through your exercise. For great work out try the iFitness application.

4. Music

For nap time, the aSleep application brings you 15 lullabies and has a timer as well. If your child is over stimulated, you can choose the White Noise setting, and you will hear an ambient noise like a fan, for example. Select the volume and set the timer.

5. Cooking

Ditch the cooking book with this application! With it you will always know all the ingredients for your recipe while you are grocery shopping. Having over 170,000 recipes from 100,000 users from around the world, you will have no headackes preparing the dinner for your fammily!The recipes are sorted by top-rated, read buying tips, and save recipes to try soon and if you want to try something new, press the refresh button or shake your device and you will get a random recipe from the BigOven archive. And if all those options sound overwhelming, try 4 Ingredients and choose from over 400 recipes that consist of... just four simple ingredients. Great!

6. Games

This one si perfect to keep quiet your toddlers while you are travelling for long car trips. With games like Scribble, your kids can draw right on the screen with their fingers. Shake it to erase it and start all over again! Another game is BugSquash , where they can squash bugs racing along the screen, by taping the touch button.

7. Education

By flipping through all kinds of pictures of food, animals, shapes and colour, it can teach your child the difference between a dog and a zebra, or the difference between blue and green. The application comes with multiple language translation so while your kid can see how dog looks like, you can say ''le chien'' in French.

Friday, 8 May 2009

5 truths about being a new mother

Unfold the great conspiracy of silence
by Andreea Lofgren

There is a great rule in parenting: never tell new parents how it really is! This is mostly applied in early stages: pregnancy and pre-school years.

So let’s take an example:

Your best friend, who just got pregnant, takes you out for a coffee. As you order a double espresso , because your children kept you up all night , she tells you that she wants to know everything. So what she thinks…

And you begin:

1. you shouldn’t be worry if you get fat, you will drop it in no time, especially if you breastfeed

2. giving birth is not so bad, and anyway your body is programmed to forget about the pain

3. breastfeeding can be tricky in the beginning, but it’s so natural that you will get the hang of it so quickly!

4. you’ll get used to not having so much sleep like you use to

5. taking care of a baby can really bring two people together

But what you really want to say is:

1. your stomach will never be the same, even if you go to the gym every day (which you won’t be able to because you won’t have the time) or try to breastfeed until you baby will start university
2. giving birth is quite terrifying, gas and air doesn’t work all the time. There will be blood and other fluids, that you will think you’ll making a CSI Miami scene and having people that you don’t know staring at your most intimate parts doesn’t leave you feel, empowering.

3. Breastfeeding can be hard; you will feel completely helpless when you can’t do it, people will look at you in disgust if you’ll try to feed your baby in public, it’s possible to get mastitis(which feels like pulsing headache, only in your breasts), you’ll leak in public, your nipples will feel like sandpaper, and just like your stomach, will never be the same…

4. You will loose your mind from lack of sleep. Even experienced military men were reduced to wrecks after three day of no sleep. You will have days when even putting some clothes on you will be a great achievement.

5. After the euphoria has passed, you and your partner will become shift workers and you will find yourself dropping off to sleep when he’s awake and the other way around. When he will leave in the morning to work, in the back of your mind you feel a sneaking suspicion that he spends longer and longer at the office, while you are dealing with milk bottles and endless diaper changes. Sex will be a distant memory, not so much because of physical changes after birth, but more because both of you are so tired and you won’t feel like having any. And don’t forget the smell from your baby sick…

This is one part of the story …the chaos. There is another side though; the part of endless love that you feel for this little bundle. For many women, the love they feel for their child surpasses anything they felt before. At first you don’t notice it, because you are still getting used to each other. But suddenly, one early morning, while the radio is on and this little milky person is asleep beside you, you will realise, that you will live this child more than life itself.

This is a new kind of love, and in it’s sense truly unconditional. But it can be also very frightening, not only for you as a mother, whose happiness depends of this unstable pink human bundle, but also for your partner. It’s a big change, from being the centre of your universe, to become a distant satellite. This can be very hard, especially if the ego inside is male.
So this is the reason, as an experienced parent you don’t tell the truth. She won’t understand the strange feeling when, once you feel completely elated with love for your baby and at the same time hopelessly trapped, until she will give birth. And you want for her to understand everything through her own experience.

So until then, my child is an angel, source of endless joy, I am so happy to be a new mom, my partner and I have as much sex as before and of course we don’t miss out our holidays abroad, going out with friends and spoil ourselves with consumer expensive and actual freedom.

Sarah Vine and Tania Kindersley 2009. Extracted from "Backwards in High Heels", to be published by Fourth Estate

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Word’s out! The tag season has started!

by Andreea Lofgren

Word’s out! It’s tag season time! There are some rules of the meme though: respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question and add another. Tag other bloggers.

Let’s start:

1. What are your current obsessions?
My Cool Junior Space blog, lots of crunches (good for your abs) and fixing my house

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
My Diesel washed out jeans!

3. What was your favourite childhood meal?
chicken soup

4. Last thing you bought?
diapers for my 10 months daughter

5. What are you listening to?
The soundtrack from Les Miserables (Absolutely great!)

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?
Athena- she was a warrior and I could get a leading role in a whole bunch of great myths like the Odyssey

7. Favourite holiday spots?
anywhere in France, Rome, Cabo Verde

8. Reading right now?
nothing, shame on me!

9. Four words to describe yourself.
Tired. Blond-hared.Tenacious.

10. Guilty pleasure?
Milk chocolate.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
My baby daughter. She’s 10 months and very funny…love her to bits!

12. Spring thing that you hate to do?
working in my garden. Need a Gardner pronto!

13. Planning to travel to next?
Florence or Paris. Don’t know yet which one!

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
An Amarone whine with my husband. So, goood…mmm

15. When did you last get tipsy?
last week-end.

16. Favourite ever film?
Gone with the wind

17. Care to share some wisdom?
still accumulating

18. Song you can't get out of your head?
Jump by Madonna

19. One thing you'd really like to do this year?

jump with a parachute and go sailing

20. What was you last romantic thing you did with your husband/partner?

soft dancing in our house in the middle of the day

The next ones are:

Eco Child's Play

5 Minutes For Mom

Cool Mom Picks

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


by Andreea Lofgren

Sleeping is one of the priorities of new parents. How much should the baby sleep? How often are they wakening up during night?

In my opinion the key night time sleep is the daytime sleep and absolutely vital for both, is the darkness. To teach your baby the difference between the time asleep and time awake is to make sure from his early days that he is put to sleep in a dark room for all his naps. The substance that stimulates sleep is called melatonin and is produced by the pineal gland. This hormone is stimulated by darkness and prepares the body for sleep.

After 45 minutes, all babies come into a light sleep, so even the smallest amount of light can affect their sleep.

Here are the most common reasons why babies don’t sleep:

- hunger

- not feeding enough (in early days a baby may need 25 minutes at each breast for a normal feed)

- sleeping too much during day

- not sleeping enough during day that will make them overtired

- overstimulation – they need downtime before sleep

- waking themselves up (babies up to six week have a strong Moro reflex, so you should tuck them in firmly when putting them to sleep)

- getting cold

- wrong sleep associations

- outside disturbance