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The 6 ways we talk about a teenage girl’s age

If you've been following the controversy surrounding Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh you already know, but just in case you don't: a few weeks ago he essentially blamed a now deceased 16-year-old for her own rape. He stated that she was "older than her chronological age" — basically saying that she acted older than she was and got what was coming to her. Understandably there was a gigantic wave of outcry, and he's since apologized and called for a new hearing.

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My step-son is worried we won't love him if we have a kid: how can we reassure him?

I'm engaged to marry the love of my life next year. We've been together for four years, and I've been a step-mother to his eleven-year-old for three-and-a-half of those four years. I really love this kid — I often feel like he could be my own child, and we have a special "just us" language we regularly use. My step-son has repeatedly told us that he doesn't want us to have a child of our own. His dad and I do plan to have a child, and since we're older it'll probably be sooner than later.

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What are the best plus-size options for baby-wearing?

I am expecting my second son and I think it would really help my chaotic life if I was able to cart this kiddo around without a stroller. My first son had some health issues that made baby wearing not a possibility for us, so I do not have much experience picking the best options. Since I am a big gal I'm wondering if some products work better for larger bodies. My partner is also chubby and proud so suggestions for big papas would also be helpful!

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How can I diplomatically talk to my in-laws about smoking around my kid?

I feel very strongly that I don't want my child to spend time in my in-laws home. I love my in-laws. They are kind, generous people, and I absolutely would want my kid to have a relationship with them. The problem is that they are very heavy (cigarette) smokers who smoke (a lot) inside their home. Every time I go to their home, the smell of smoke assaults me at the door and lingers on my clothes and hair so that I pretty much have to shower immediately when I leave their home and sometimes have to sit outside to get away from it so I can breathe properly.

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Parenting goal: avoid competing with other children and families

The best outcome for your kids — best best, with no meaningful challengers — is for them to find a place in life that feels right to them based on their skills, their temperaments and their passions. That some of your kids’ A’s slip to B’s and some of their peers run/swim/flip/play/dance/sculpt/sing better is not even remotely an obstacle to this outcome. After all, those everyone-else’s-kids getting all the awards will get their butts kicked, too, probably as soon as they move on to the next level of competition.