First, what's a year in parenting without some breastfeeding flaps, right?
There was definitely a flap about this May TIME cover image, which showed a not-so-subtle picture of a very thirsty 3-year-old standing on a chair to get a snack from his model (yes, model) mom.
Let's just say the milk hit the fan on this one, with lactivists and those calling offense commenting in droves.
It's never a dull moment in attachment parenting ...
We were already in awe of Kerry Walsh-Jennings as we watched her win, along with teammate Misty May-Treanor, the gold in women's beach volleyball at the London Olympics.
And then we learned she did it while pregnant with her third child. Tired moms of the world took note, along with millions of aspiring young female athletes: When you have a passion for your craft, you let nothing stand in your way. We'll be watching for Walsh-Jennings' newest addition this spring (maybe a future Olympian like her amazing mom).
In a heated election year we heard a never-ending stream of debate about women's bodies in general and birth control in particular. But not all of us expected what happened when Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke agreed to testify before a congressional committee regarding health insurance and contraception. Rush Limbaugh called her the "s" word, President Obama rang her up, and the political battles raged ever fiercer.
When an irate father took extreme action, it not only ignited a firestorm but also opened a vigorous debate about publicly disciplining children over social media.Tommy Jordan, an IT worker from Albemarle, N.C., uploaded a video to YouTube of himself shooting his daughter's laptop after he had read her recent Facebook wall post where she complained about doing chores. The clip has 35 million views.
This year the nation become enamored, or horrified, with the family of little Honey Boo Boo, a trash-talking reality TV phenomenon. Boo Boo's family mainly favors beauty pageants, sugary sodas and cussin'. Despite the finger-pointing, though, many saw familiar traits (or was it more of a warning) in Honey Boo Boo's family drama. And some parents asked earnestly whether the stars of reality TV are that much different, really, than the rest of us.
This year Washington State's whooping cough epidemic skyrocketed, with rates 10 times the year previous, scaring many parents and reigniting a push to vaccinate kids and adults. This fall, federal disease detectives began probing the statistics, trying to figure out why the majority of young people diagnosed were kids who had received vaccinations. The mystery is still unsolved, though officials suspect current vaccines are not as effective as previous versions.
Of course we knew it would happen soon. But for some reason, news of Kate Middleton's pregnancy still seized royal-watchers like a crazy plague. Gossip became even more juicy and well wishes even more heartfelt when we learned that poor Kate was supposedly suffering from acute morning sickness. Then, royal watching turned tragic when a radio DJ's prank aimed at trying to get the duchess on the phone resulted in the suicide of a hospital employee.
Mothers in America want to say one of two things to Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's new CEO: Thanks so much for being a successful role model, or, alternately, what the heck? Mayer made waves when, as the first pregnant head of a Fortune 500 company, she said, "My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I'll work throughout it." Her comment reignited the perennial debate about whether "women can have it all" and whether society should support working parents more.
Sesame Street lovers, along with Big Bird, went into defense mode when, during a presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he wouldn't hesitate to cut funding for PBS. Luckily for public television supporters, Romney never got the opportunity, but the incident rallied Democrats in the weeks before the election and led to a number of funny videos and spoofs.
Parents across the world laughed when they saw this brilliant video by an everyday moms and pops rapping straight about the parenting shizzle.
Women can have it all. Women can't have it all. Blah blah blah goes the debate, reignited this year by Anne Marie Slaughter's article in The Atlantic. In her piece Slaughter outlined how, at the apex of her career, she decided to leave the State Department because she wasn’t parenting her struggling teenage son the way she wanted to while immersed in the high-pressure job. Slaughter garnered accusations of being feminist and of being anti-feminist, but the article also served as a road into the conversation about working and parenting in America.
Jerry Sandusky's deep betrayal as the former Penn State assistant football coach stayed with us into 2012, when he was convicted for sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year-period. While glad to see justice finally served, many of us as parents were forced to critically examine our children's circles of teachers, coaches, advisers and friends as we asked ourselves how such a thing happens and how aware we are.
2012 was in many ways the year of the mind. Terms like "executive function" and "social-emotional learning" began rolling off not just expert's tongues but those of everyday parents and caregivers. Underscoring this new trend in study and thinking was Paul Tough's New York Times bestselling book How Children Succeed, which helped sharpen our understanding of the need for today's kids to experience failure in order to become happy adults.
Awareness of bullying, and many people's outrage, spread when news and a video of a school bus monitor's misfortune at the hands of mere children went viral. The shocking video of kids verbally abusing Karen Klein opened up the dialogue about school-bus behavior and safety and pushed the envelope on bullying action. This fall some high-profile stars came together to create a broad anti-bullying campaign.
Who can forget when N.J. "Tanning Mom" was arrested for allegedly putting her 5-year-old in a tanning booth? Especially after we caught a glimpse of Patricia Krentcil's face, which looked like she needed a reprieve in the North Pole. Krentcil, who said she never tanned her child, began treatment and is now dedicated to renewing her skin, according to the Huffington Post. She hasn't gone tanning for six months and is on a media tour to promote healthy skin. Bravo!
Many readers of Pamela Druckerman's bestselling book Bringing Up Bébé were equal parts incensed and intrigued. In her book the mom of three and a former Wall Street Journal reporter explores the apparent superiority of French parenting, which seems to avoid all the anxiety, suffering and spoilage of clumsy American parents. “The French seem collectively to have achieved the miracle of getting babies and toddlers not just to wait, but to do so happily,” she writes.
If 2012 was the year of the brain, it was also the year of compassion. Organizations around the globe and across America made inroads into teaching compassion and the Golden Rule to kids in order to foster a happier, healthier world. The network of compassionate schools grew and is still ever-growing as the ideas behind compassion education spread. Terms like "global citizens," "character education" and "compassion-in-action" are becoming more commonplace as the power and potential of kids as peaceful partners and leaders is harnessed.
In 2012 a sweet trend exploded: Time-lapse baby and pregnancy videos. It all began to catch on with this sweet video, documenting one couple's pregnancy in 90 seconds. Time-lapse is a poignant, tech-savvy way to capture a milestone (or many). The possibilities are endless and remind us of the magical gift of life. Are you next?