All's fair in love and preschool admissions

Preschool admissions - they're the worst. Yeah, there's elementary school, middle, oh yeah, high school and, the big one, college admissions. They're all bad, but preschool is the worst. Why? Because you're still young and naive - not jaded and beaten down like you will be by the time the others come around.

Interviews for 2 year olds? First choice letters? Trying to figure out if there really is such a thing as a "feeder" school? Wouldn't it be great if all the preschools all just lined up and offered themselves to you, and you could just pluck the one you liked the best? Well, keep dreaming, that ain't gonna happen, but the next best thing is the Downtown Preschool Fair.

Observed: Unique Baby Names Now Common

After a New York Times article this weekend reporting that Hispanic parents have opted to name all their boys Angel, The New York Observer reports that affluent New Yorkers are competing to label their children with the most unusual names possible.

What do you do when the trendy thing to do is try to be totally unique? Do you go for more totally unique or buck the trend and go traditional?

If you are planning to follow the trend here are some guidelines to follow:

No child's spanked behind

An intense debate has been started by California Democratic Assemblywoman Sally J. Leiber's announcement of her intent to introduce a bill to make spanking a child under the age of 4 a crime.

Calgon, took me away

Jobs that require a lot of travel can be hard for working parents, but jobs that require just a little bit of travel can be fabulous for working parents!

This week I had to go to LA for just a day, which I stretched into three days. Including the 12 blissful hours reading on the plane, it was the perfect mini-vacation--an opportunity to trade the messiness and antics of family life for the soothing calm of being alone in a big, clean, quiet hotel room.

Well, it turns out you can take the girl out of the insanity, but you can't take the insanity out of the girl.

How to stop getting mad and get even - over household chores

After sex and money and kids the thing most couples fight about is chores. Chores. It doesn't seem to have the emotional baggage that the others do, so what's the deal? Apparently, it's about respect (I read that somewhere). If the other person isn't taking enough care about the house we share, it feels like a lack of respect and appreciation for the other person. If you put it that way, it does seem like a pretty important part of a healthy relationship.

So, after smoldering all day about my husband not helping out as much as I wished he did, I decided that I wouldn't get mad, I'd get even. That's where the Taskmaster came in. No, it's not a torture device, it's a form to help you divide the household chores evenly.

Hot Topic: Circumcision

Circumcision really wasn’t a topic that came up much in my life until I was faced with the responsibility for making a decision about whether to cut my own child or not. How do you make a choice like this? It seems weird and incestuous to be contemplating the future sexual gratification of your unborn son.

The choice not to circumcise has become increasingly popular - you know, the way vegetarian meats have become popular - not that pork farmers have anything to worry about, but people don’t look at you sideways (as much) if you pack it (for lunch). There are even movements amongst Jews that are questioning--circumcision, not pork. Some say the originally prescribed circumcision was only meant to be the very tip of the foreskin and not the more severe version of circumcision today, which, they claim, is barbaric.

I run with the crowd that is fringe enough to consider not circumcising, but in the end not quite fringe enough to keep the fringe on their boys. The main reason seemed to be locker room phobia - not wanting their little peters to be made fun of. Considering that many men get castration anxiety if you so much as stare daggers at them, I was surprised that, it was the dads who seemed to lean more pro and the moms who had a hard time imagining inflicting any pain on their poor innocent Mr. Pickles.

A recent New York Times Magazine piece reported that doctors have confirmed that circumcision reduces the chances of a man contracting HIV by 60 percent. Tina Rosenberg makes the argument that this is as good as any vaccine we are ever likely to develop for the wily HIV virus.

Play Worker, that kid took my play prop!

What do the iPhone, Bennifer and a new playground have in common? A) They've revolutionized their fields (hmmm). B) They're curvy and sexy. C) People hang around them seemingly needlessly. D) They've created an absurdly overblown media frenzy. E) All of the above. If you haven't figured it out I'm making a joke about the new David Rockwell-designed playground that is set to be built by the South Street Seaport. It was a really funny joke, maybe you just didn't get it because you somehow missed the massive (for a playground) amount of press it's been getting. The New York Times alone printed two stories and a flurry of opinion pieces about it last week. David Rockwell is a really cool architect who has designed places like Nobu and sets for Cirque de Soleil. His thing is creating experiences--seems like a good fit for a playground. Apparently the dude moved to Lower Manhattan (I told you he was cool) and then had a kid and realized that there weren't really any playgrounds by his house. So, what do you do if you're a super cool, famous architect and there's no playground near your house? You offer to design a super cool one and the Parks Department and private donors (hopefully) line up to pay for it. So what's all the fuss about?


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