Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Einstein Refunds

Looks like I'm not the only one apprehensive about plopping my baby in front of a Baby Einstein video. If you're unsatisfied with a Baby Einstein DVD that was bought between June 5, 2004 and Sept. 5, 2009, Disney will refund ($15.99) or exchange the DVD for a book or music CD (up to four per household).

Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has been pressing lawsuits for years, claiming that baby videos -- such as Baby Einstein -- are harmful. Because of Linn's persistence, the company dropped the word "educational" from their marketing in 2006, but Linn wanted further action: Accountability and compensation for their "unfair and deceptive practices."

A letter from Linn's lawyers cites studies that show television exposure between ages 1 and 3 is "associated with attention problems at age 7." And educational or not, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under 2.

To read about the new refund, read this. Here's what Linn had to say about it:
"We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds."
But is it an acknowledgment? According to Susan McLain, the general manager of Baby Einstein, this refund is just an extension of the customer-satisfaction refund that has always been in place, but it's basically just to get Linn off of their backs: "We strongly believe that, unlike Linn, our customers find value in our product, and rather than continue to fight with her, we decided to leave it up to those consumers."

Looks like Linn is the nagging gnat that won't die. Here's McLain's side of the story:
"For the past several years, Baby Einstein has been under attack by propoganda groups taking extreme positions that try to dictate what parents should do, say and buy. Our philosophy has always been to focus on creating products that parents and babies love, and to not get sidetracked and pulled down into their street fight.

Unfortunately, with Susan Linn's latest stunt, we cannot be silent any longer. Linn's obvious dislike for Baby Einstein has now turned into a sensational, headline-grabbing publicity campaign that seeks to twist and spin a simple, customer satisfaction action into a false admission of guilt. This is clearly not the case.

Linn's moves are carefully crafted to prey on parental guilt and uncertainty...Linn’s latest public relations blitz simply distorts the facts and misleads the public. In the end, this smear campaign has everything to do with Linn trying to generate ink and funding for her cause, and not about the value that consumers find in our product."
I think it needs to be said that Baby Einstein does offer redeeming products, such as developmental toys, books and CDs.

What do you think? Will you be sending back your DVDs? Do you really feel duped by the Big Bad Baby Einstein? I mean -- what rational parent really thinks that a child can become a genius through the boob tube?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Colorado child denied health coverage

Remember when I wrote about little Alex, a perfectly healthy child denied health insurance for being too chubby? Well now another child in Colorado was denied health insurance -- this time for being too skinny.

The naturally petite girl, Aislin, happens to be a picky eater (A toddler? Picky? Shocking!), but according to her mother, Rachel Bates, she's not sickly. She has a "minor gag reflex" which causes her to not like certain foods, and she's currently improving in therapy. Yet according to United Healthcare, Aislin's height and weight didn't meet their company's standards.

Because of this publicity, the health insurance company has now decided to insure the child -- after denying her TWICE before this.

What kind of country are we living in? In both of these cases the children happen to be healthy, yet the insurance companies still deemed them too risky for their bottom line. These extremely lucrative companies are leaving vulnerable children to suffer because -- what? -- they may lose their bonuses? I understand how this aligns with the ideals of capitalism, but how does this fit into the ideals of America? If freedom and liberty don't make us money, do we abandon them?

If these two cases are indicative of what's happening around our country -- and I know they are -- then we should all be embarrassed. The Leader of the Free World should look around -- their followers are all pitying us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Elisabeth shares embarrassing post-partum moment

Elisabeth Hasselbeck returned to the View yesterday after taking time off to have her third child, Isaiah. Watch what happened when she attempted to send a mass picture message of Isaiah's first child.

The combination of sleep deprivation and increased nudity is a set-up for public embarrassment. When Noah was about four months old, I was feeding him at La Guardia airport's waiting area. I used a blanket to cover myself -- although his flailing around didn't help -- and when he was done, I stood him on my lap, giggling and cooing. Finally I look down and notice I'm completely exposed to an entire waiting area of strangers, having forgotten to clip my nursing bra and fix my shirt. At least I gave them all a good traveling story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The pain is in your head

A new study reported in the November issue of Pediatrics finds that children who experience frequent stomach aches can reduce their pain by controlling it with their imagination.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stepdad shoots daughter's boyfriend

A Florida man is facing second-degree attempted murder charges for shooting an 18-year-old boy. Why, you ask? Because he was having sex with the man's 16-year-old stepdaughter.

According to reports, Wade Edwards came home from work early Thursday night and opened a bedroom door to find the teens going at it. He closed the door, went downstairs, and returned with a gun. Edwards shot the boy four times in the leg and hip as he scrambled to get dressed and run out of the house. He collapsed in the yard and ended up needing surgery.

Police said that Edwards is not remorseful for what he did.

Now, fathers, I know how disturbing -- even traumatizing -- it is to see something like that. But attempting murder? Really? Gone are the days when fathers would clean their guns before a date. Now they just pull the damn trigger.

Has the balloon burst for the Hennes parents?

In case you've been living under a rock, you know the story of the storm-chasing, UFO-tracking, wife-swapping family that captured national attention when their 6-year-old was claimed to be soaring 7,000 ft. above Colorado in a make-shift weather balloon. Authorities scrambled to save the child -- rumored to have fallen out -- while we all held our breath.

Balloon landed, no child.

Turns out he was just hiding because he thought he'd be in trouble.

Naturally, the news networks jumped on them -- including CNN's Wolf Blitzer who simply asked why the child didn't come out when he heard his name being called. The child's response? "You guys told us to do it for the show."

Excuse me, what?

Check out the dad's backpedaling when CNN questions what the child meant by this:

What do you think? Is this all a hoax for fame?

Man simulates labor

Who has a higher threshold for pain -- men or women? A doctor set out to answer this question by voluntarily experiencing a simulation of labor. Electrodes were placed on his abdominals to mimic the feeling of contractions.

While the video is entertaining -- especially since it ends with him saying "women win, men don't, end of story" -- here's my issues:

1. He used gas to manage the pain. Some of us went through NATURAL CHILDBIRTH over here. Man up!

2. What about the back pain? The nausea? The leaking? The PUSHING?

3. There's no way for men to REALLY know what childbirth is like because labor is the culmination of carrying your child for nine months. There's often a mental preparedness when that day finally comes, which in large part is due to the fact that you'll soon have a baby in your arms. If someone put sticky things on my abs and cranked up the pain for 10 hours, I'd have a much more difficult time than I did in labor. It's apples and oranges.

Regardless, how many women want to hook their husbands up to this contraption?