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The Pool: The bigger-than-a-foot-ball-field water zone at Great Wolf Lodge, Wisconsin Dells, WI; greatwolf.com/dells
Why It Rules: Fort Mackenzie: the four-story tree house with suspension bridges, swinging family-size fishing nets, and a 1,000-gallon “bucket” that—spoiler alert!—tips unexpectedly
“There was a day where I was nursing a baby during a conference call and simultaneously searching for ramp installers online,” says Mona Shand of Brighton, MI. She and her husband help care for her 81-year-old father, who is wheelchair-bound and suffers from Parkinson's disease, and their three children, ages 5, 3, and 1, while balancing full-time jobs.
“What?! I cleaned it already!” my son yelled, gesturing to the floor.
He grudgingly took the rag and tile cleaner I held out. As he sprayed halfheartedly around the toilet, I explained that a swipe with a piece of TP doesn't cut it. We'd been over this 392 times.
On baseball fields across the country, girls are taking their turns at bat—on the same teams as boys. Toy labs are creating girl versions of trucks and cars for kids as young as 12 months. In Washington, DC, women hold more congressional seats than ever. They're flooding into colleges and grad schools, and studying subjects, like medicine and law, that were almost entirely dominated by guys just a generation or two ago.
DO: Use a car seat that fits your child, and read up on the manufacturer’s instructions on how to install the seat in the car, plane or train. Often, your local fire department can assist you in properly installing a seat in your vehicle.
DON’T: Scrimp on the price of a car seat. It’s worth a little extra to get the right seat for you child and your car. If you travel frequently, look for portability and ease of installation across various modes of transportation.
I won't lie: When we first started our family in rural Montana, I took to heart the casualness of visitors, who were excited to bring their kids out on vacation but “wouldn't want to live here.” They'd allow that the area was beautiful, as if complimenting a pretty girl who wasn't so bright. But it seemed like all anyone could see was what we didn't have: museums, clubs, art classes, libraries, and theater, to start. I admit: I shared this opinion for a while.
My 5-year-old, Sofia, likes peanut butter and bananas for breakfast but favors sweet-corn empanadas, Chinese egg noodles, or sushi at dinner. She and her sister enjoy their merienda, afternoon teatime, and sometimes sip bitter Argentine mate from a gourd. At Thanksgiving last year, we ate Korean kimchi and chapchae, along with turkey.
I never thought I would cross-reference baby names with the names of terrorists. But we did.
It's something to consider when you're a Muslim living in the U.S. Not to mention that traditional Muslim names are often mispronounced. At home we pronounce our daughter's name as Furah. But at school, she's called Farah.
Shortly after Furah was born, we had to fly out of town. It was odd that we couldn't check in online. Once at the airport, we found out why. “Your daughter has been flagged as a security risk,” the agent told us. “I'm sorry.”
My husband and I met in a mountain village in Japan. (We were college students learning the language.) After we got married, my husband's career took us back to Japan—we raised our kids there for five years, and return each summer.
One aspect of Japanese culture that struck us was how close families are. What we didn't realize was that one way they stay close is by having their kids do chores.