Toronto Star

The year in parenting

Even President Obama struggles with his kids,

- Kathryn Laskaris

We here at Days Like These are always interested in what other people out in the world are doing, especially other parents. Here are some news events we came across this year that amused us, in some cases, and appalled us in others. As they say on Twitter, we feel #blessed and #grateful for what we have, and hope that you do, too. Happy New Year. Political daddyos, part 1 A Peruvian woman named Karen Duffy claimed in July that embattled senator and former media type Mike Duffy is her father. Maclean’s magazine reports that Karen Duffy’s mother, who spent time in a Kingston, Ont., jail years ago in connection with cocaine traffickin­g, told a Peruvian current affairs program: “I am 1,000 per cent sure that she is the daughter of Mike Duffy, the Canadian senator.” Karen and Mike got in contact after the story broke, but are keeping the matter private. Political daddyos, part 2 Liberal Leader and proud papa Justin Trudeau caused a Twitter flurry in February after announcing the birth of his third child, a tiny Grit boy, by posting a picture of a wee hand grasping his finger and the tweet: “Welcome to the world, little Hadrian. 8 lbs. 3oz., Sophie is wonderful, Xavier and Ella-Grace couldn’t be prouder.” Political daddyos, part 3 Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s son, Ben, had a bit of an 18th-birthday bash at 24 Sussex Dr. in the spring; paramedics reportedly showed up after one young woman had too much to drink. In September, Ben started studying at Queen’s University. Yet another breastfeed­ing controvers­y, part 1 Breastfeed­ing still seems to cause an uproar if anyone has to, you know, actually do it outside their own home. Oshawa Councillor Amy England brought her newborn baby to work because her job doesn’t have much leeway for maternity leave. Astounding­ly, someone called the Children’s Aid on her. Yet another breastfeed­ing controvers­y, part 2 Breastfeed­ing selfies became all the rage, including one by Amy England (see above), during World Breastfeed­ing Week in August, which some Facebook users complained about. In the fall, actress Alyssa Milano posted a discreet Instagram photo that showed her feeding her baby, which resulted in a backlash. She told The Talk recently: “I got really sad about it, because who are we that now we get upset as human beings if we see a woman feeding her baby?” Fun with words, part 1 Dr. Seuss’s classic Hop on Pop landed on the list of things that Toronto Public Library patrons get irate about. One reader demanded that it be pulled from shelves because it encouraged violence. Let’s hope they don’t read Horton Hatches the Egg (spoiler alert: the egg CRACKS). Fun with words, part 2 Adam Mansbach, dad and author of the hugely popular Go the F--- to Sleep has come up with a sequel, You Have to F---ing Eat, which last time we checked was holding its own on Amazon’s bestseller­s list, which is the only one that counts, since most parents only have time to shop online. Fun with words, part 3 Dad Greg Pembroke has turned his Tumblr blog “Reasons My Son is Crying” into a book: Reasons My Kid is Crying. Among the most recent posts submitted by parents online: “Our daughter was crying because she found out we went on a vacation without her. Our honeymoon. Five years before she was born.” Dad, this is boring U.S. President Barack Obama may be the leader of the free world but he is also the father of a couple of teenage girls. Malia and Sasha’s bored expression­s at the admittedly ridiculous turkey pardon drew the ire of a Republican aide, who resigned after her scathing Facebook takedown of the girls’ demeanour and their clothes.

That aside, this proves, without a doubt, that even a parent with the coolest job in the world is still excruciati­ngly embarrassi­ng to his children. All work and no play ... A Long Island elementary school got rid of its annual kindergart­en play, explaining its decision in a letter that read, in part: “We are responsibl­e for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers.” All play and no work ... A company in Houston persuaded the U.S. government to hand over $747,000 to develop a game called: “Kiddio: Food Fight — Training Vegetable Parenting Practices” that will help teach parents ways to get their kids to eat more vegetables.

If the government would like to hand over $700K to Days Like These, we will freely offer this state secret: Serve the veggies with dip. Gotta stay warm somehow Remember the ice storm of 2013? We stayed warm by chopping up old bits of furniture and heating them over a Bunsen burner (no, not really, we just drank) but apparently others had more, um, exciting ideas.

Several local hospitals saw a mini surge in births that coincided with the dates about nine months after the ice storm. Say cheese You know those funny-looking newborn baby hospital photos that you buy anyway because, heck, it’s your baby and you just went through all that to get him/her here?

As it turns out, several GTA hospitals were handing the personal records of thousands of new mothers to baby photograph­ers. Let’s get cracking Facebook and Apple say they will give up to $20,000 to employees for reproducti­ve-related benefits that include, among other things, freezing the eggs of their female employees.

“It potentiall­y addresses the conflicts between the biological clock and the clockwork of women’s careers,” one sociology professor told The Associated Press. By now, shouldn’t there be an app for that? Kathryn Laskaris writes every other Monday. or on Twitter: @daysliketh­ese

 ?? JACQUELYN MARTIN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO ?? The bored looks of Sasha, centre, and Malia Obama prove even a parent with a cool job is still embarrassi­ng to their kids, Kathryn Laskaris writes.
JACQUELYN MARTIN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO The bored looks of Sasha, centre, and Malia Obama prove even a parent with a cool job is still embarrassi­ng to their kids, Kathryn Laskaris writes.
 ??  ?? A Peruvian woman named Karen Duffy claimed to be the daughter of embattled Canadian senator Mike Duffy.
A Peruvian woman named Karen Duffy claimed to be the daughter of embattled Canadian senator Mike Duffy.
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