parenting

In the U.S., surrogate parenting is widely accepted. Although no official figures exist, experts believe perhaps a thousand American children are born every year through surrogacy.

A patchwork of state-to-state regulations governs the practice. But the bottom line is if you're an American in the market for a surrogate — and you have money to spend — you can do it.

Things are very different in other parts of the world.

A good night's sleep for a child typically means the same for a parent. But night terrors can make middle-of-the-night wakings more frequent and can leave parents feeling helpless.

A new device wants to fend off night terrors by rousing a child into a lighter sleep stage. The Lully Sleep Guardian is a Bluetooth-enabled pod that pairs with an iPhone app. To prevent a child from entering an "unhealthy state of sleep," when night terrors typically occur, the pod uses gentle, timed vibrations.

The writer with her mother and son.
Courtesy of Shin Yu Pai

My relationship with my Taiwanese immigrant mother, Noko, has always been mediated by my father.

We were separated by cultural and language differences, and my dad kept us apart by making us depend on him as our translator, cementing his importance in our lives by putting himself at the center. When my son, Tomo, was born last year, I asked Noko to stay with me to assist me in my transition to becoming a mom.

First-graders Daniel, left, and Josiah, are first-grade language buddies at White Center Heights Elementary in West Seattle. Their classroom instruction is in Spanish and English.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Americans get a bad rap for speaking only English.

But increasingly, public schools are immersing students in a second language, usually Spanish or Chinese. The Highline school district, south of Seattle, has even set an ambitious goal for the class of 2026 to graduate fully bilingual and biliterate.

Brigid Schulte discusses her book "Overwhelmed" at an event in 2014.
Flickr Photo/Howard County Library System (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Americans are famously industrious. The chart of our productivity growth per hour worked from 1948 to 2011 shows a rise of over 250 percent. It’s the classic ‘up and up and where it stops, nobody knows’ graph.

But the fact is, while Americans work longer hours than workers in most other countries, we’re actually less productive than you might think. According to a number of studies, working more than 40 hours a week just makes us less productive. So what would happen if we worked less?

It took an extra trip to Boise. But Idaho lawmakers Monday adopted new federal rules on child support after a whirlwind 11-hour session.

The controversial Idaho bill dealing with foreign child support orders is moving ahead in the legislature, despite impassioned opposition on the House floor.

Dozens of countries, including the U.S., have agreed on how to handle child support payments when one parent is in a different country. But the state of Idaho is holding out.

Peanuts
Flickr Photo/Daniella Segura (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. David Jeong, a pediatric allergist at Virginia Mason Medical Center, about the Seattle Food Allergy Consortium's new recommendations for introducing peanuts into kids' diets after consulting the results of the Learn Early About Peanut study released earlier this year. 

The original title screen from the "ABC Afterschool Special" anthology series that debuted in 1972.
Wikimedia Commons

You were probably a free-range kid.

You rode your bike around the neighborhood and walked to school alone. Your parents warned of the dangers – which you knew because you watched those creepy after-school specials on ABC. 

Monday marks a different kind of Mother's Day in South Korea. It's Single Mother's Day, an effort by civic groups to raise awareness of Korean society's unwed moms.

Despite Korea's rapid economic advancement, the country has yet to catch up to the notion of nontraditional families. Single moms are still forced into the shadows of society — ostracized by family members, discriminated against at work and all the while, trying to raise children without a network of support.

A drawing by a child in Professor Kristina Olson's study. Olson has found that transgender and non-trans girls have an equally deep sense of their gender identity.
Courtesy of Marlo Mack

When Kristina Olson, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, started looking into research on transgender children, she was surprised. It was thin at best.

Data from decades ago said that 80 percent of transgender kids revert to their born gender, but Olson was skeptical.

So she started the TransYouth Project to track transgender children to adulthood. The project has worked with 65 children across the U.S. and Canada – so far. Some are as young as 3.

The sperm came from Israel. It was frozen and flown to Thailand, where a South African egg donor awaited. After the egg was fertilized, the embryo traveled to Nepal and was implanted in the Indian woman who agreed to serve as the surrogate mother.

And roughly nine months later, there was a big, bouncing earthquake.

The world of international surrogacy is ... pretty complicated.

While many kids are lucky if their parents send them off to school with a ham and cheese sandwich and an apple in their packed lunches, for some, the midday meal is a work of art.

Some parents include paper napkins with hand-drawn illustrations so elaborate that children have preferred to use their own clothing to wipe up spills. Others decorate the once-boring brown paper bag with fanciful dragons and scenes from Star Wars or re-create great works of art in food. (Think Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring rendered in sushi.)

Students at the Fiddleheads, an outdoor school at the Washington Park Arboretum.
Fiddleheads Family Nature School

Seattle is beginning to experiment with an unorthodox concept – outdoor preschool.

All day, all year round. Three- and 4-year-old kids would learn outside and in parks. It's more than recess – it's an outdoor classroom.

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