Queer parenting

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What’s In A Name? How Queer Families Choose to Call Themselves

One of the awesome things about being queer is that it frees us from certain social expectations. When we do make stereotypically heteronormative life moves, like getting married or becoming parents, it’s more likely to feel like a conscious choice rather than the fulfillment of some predetermined script. My wife and I got married in Connecticut in 2009 because it still wasn’t legal for us to do so in our home state of New York. We wed while I was pregnant with our first child, in the hopes tha

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8 Ways to Celebrate and Learn About Pride Month with Kids

PrideFest WHEN: June 27, 11am WHERE: 4th Avenue between 13th and 9th Streets, Greenwich Village WHAT: PrideFest combines exhibitors, entertainers, food and activities for a day of fun and celebration in the name of equality. PrideFest is the perfect place to stop and listen to a few tunes, grab a bite to eat or score some great Pride gear. WANT TO GO? Free to attend. Family Movie Night: The Princess Bride WHEN: June 11, 6:30-9pm WHERE: The Old Stone House, 336 3rd St., Park Slope

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36 Gender Inclusive Books for Kids and Teens

These books feature trans, nonbinary, and gender-creative characters confronting challenges that range from the supernatural to the painfully real. "Young people need to see images of themselves in order to internalize a healthy sense of self," says Lilian Rivera, who works with trans, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming youth and their families at the organization Gender Spectrum. "It's important for children to know that gender doesn't have to be rigid or very specific." The characters in th

Perspective | In birth certificate decision, Supreme Court reaffirms the story of our family

The Supreme Court this week reaffirmed its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, to the great relief of queer parents across the United States, many of us still decked in beads and stickers from last weekend’s Pride festivities. The right of a spouse to be listed as a parent on a child’s birth certificate is indeed one of the many rights and privileges granted by marriage, the court found, reversing a decision in Arkansas that had denied this right to married same-sex couples, citing “bas

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Our kids have two moms. Here’s what the gay marriage decision means for us

Back when we were struggling to get pregnant for the first time, I sought the help of an acupuncturist who specialized in fertility issues. He would carefully prepare my naked, barren body, then cover me up with a giant sheet of Mylar and leave me to lie alone in a darkened room, wondering how I became so desperate for a baby that I was willing to spend $135 twice a week to have someone stick pins in me. At the beginning of the session, while he placed the needles, we would sometimes make small

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Our children are real, and so are their donors

“You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be,” the clothing designer Domenico Dolce recently said, stirring up a bit of controversy. “I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.” Synthetic children? Ouch. My first reaction was to extend an invitation to Signores Dolce and Gabbana to come over and babysit my little cyborgs for a few hours, so that they could experience first-hand their screaming, their whining, and

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Is that baby yours?

“Is that your baby?” asked the man on the subway. “Yup,” I smiled, thinking of the triumphant moment when I arrived at the hospital and was determined to already be 10 centimeters dilated. It wasn’t the answer he was after, but there was no need to explain that. She is my daughter. I gave birth to her. I nurse her. But she doesn’t have any of my genes. The man looked at my baby’s pale yellow hair, round blue eyes and rosy skin, then at my darker features. “Is your husband Irish or Scandinav


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I'm a teacher isolating because I got COVID-19. It threatens the sense of normalcy our household had finally restored.

• I'm a teacher and a mom of two school-aged kids. • The past two years have been filled with disappointment for my children. • Now that I've tested positive, the little normalcy we had is out the window. It started as a tickle in the back of my throat. "It can't be," I thought. Two years into the pandemic, vaccinated and boosted, was I getting COVID-19? Students and teachers had been dropping like flies with infections in the week leading up to winter break. My wife and I had planned to tra

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Teachers Don’t Want Schools to Close Again Either, But We Do Wish You’d Occasionally Listen to Us

As I’ve seen over and over again throughout my 16 years working for the New York City Department of Education, when society faces a crisis, the general public tends to lay it at the feet of teachers and insist that we find a solution. Rather than giving us the support and resources to actually tackle the problem, they tell us to use grit and resilience to make it work. The latest example: Folks want schools to remain open during the surge of the Omicron variant during the COVID-19 pandemic. How

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Best Boy Baby Names that Begin With the Letter A

Looking for a name for your baby boy? Why not start at the beginning? Of the alphabet, that is. Check out this select list of great boy names that start with the letter A. There are a wealth of possibilities, from traditional to trendy, popular to unique, and everything in-between. Imagine how the following names feel on your tongue, and see if any are the perfect fit! Best baby boy names that start with A This Old Testament name means “high mountain,” “exalted,” and “enlightened.” Aaron has b

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Perfect Baby Names for Sports Fans

No matter which is your favorite game, you’re sure to find inspiration in these sports baby names that celebrate some of the greatest athletes of all time and their dedication to excellence. Player-inspired names offer your child a role model and remind them of your passion for the game. Althea Gibson won titles and broke barriers as the first Black female tennis player to win a grand slam (after the French Open in 1956). She went on to win ten more grand slam titles, cementing her place in his

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8 Simple Things You Can Do at Home to Help if Your Student is Struggling in School

The luster of the first day of school has surely worn off by now, and families have settled back into the daily grind—including some facets of pre-pandemic life that we may not have missed, like early mornings and traffic jams. It’s a challenging transition for everyone. Kids who were kindergarten students in the spring of 2020 had only six months of regular instruction before moving into lockdown, and now they’re in second grade. So, it comes as no surprise that some of these kids are showing s

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Pen Parentis – Offering Community and Support to Writers who Parent

As anyone who has experienced the seismic transition of becoming a parent can attest, it’s not so much that priorities shift as that the solid ground upon which you used to neatly arrange your life undergoes a tectonic upheaval. It’s a struggle to hold on to the pieces of your identity that mean the most to you, and maintaining a creative practice, even when it was once the thing that sustained you, can feel downright unimaginable. It was the nagging doubt of How do I do this? that motivated wr

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7 Things You Don't Want to Miss at LEGOLAND NY Resort

Brickbuilders, rejoice! After a year-long delay, the LEGOLAND New York Resort has opened its gates in Goshen, just an hour’s drive from the city. Whether you have a DUPLO stacker or a master builder, LEGOLAND’s attractions are sure to delight and inspire both the young and young-at-heart. Spread over seven “lands” arranged in an easy-to-navigate circuit, the park offers rides, shows, experiences, and activities for different ages and interests. Hot tip: Download the LEGOLAND NY map before you go

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5 Ways to Determine If Your Child Would Benefit from Summer School

Answer these 5 questions to see if summer school is right for your child this year. The words “summer school” can invoke draconian misery—and are often uttered as a threat from a teacher or parent. But after more than a year of pandemic shut-down, summer school, like many things, looks very different through COVID-colored glasses. There are many reasons summer school makes sense this year. For one, parents are worried about learning gaps. Whether their kids have been remote, hybrid, or in scho

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Water Safety for Babies and Toddlers

Young children delight in the water. Some people even believe that babies have a special aquatic connection because they recently emerged from their own personal womb-pool. Yet, in a matter of seconds, water can cause grave harm to a child. “Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four,” says Mary O’Donoghue, senior aquatics director of the YMCA of Greater New York. This year, it’s more important than ever to be aware of these risks. Bobby Hazen, district manager of Saf-

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50 Things You Must do with Kids in NYC This Spring and Summer

Now that the temperatures are warming up and the trees are in bloom, it’s the perfect time to head outdoors. Here are 50 things to do in NYC with kids to enjoy being outside in the greatest city on earth. Think of this as your pre-summer bucket list. And if you visit any of these places, make sure to tag @NYMetroParents when you share your pics on Instagram! Try your hand at a carnival game, enjoy a hot dog on the boardwalk, or buckle up to ride the famous Cyclone roller coaster at Luna Park in

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Where to Rent Bikes for the Family in NYC and Long Island

If you’re looking for some wheels to carry you on your next outdoor adventure, check out these places that rent bikes for the whole family. All of these businesses rent kids and adult bikes, and most also offer child seats, trailers and tag-a-longs. If you’re interested in electric bikes, note that riders need to be at least fourteen years old. It’s best to make reservations ahead of time where possible. Rent Bikes in Manhattan Rent Bikes in Queens Rent Bikes in Brooklyn Rent Bikes on Sta

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These are the Best Playgrounds in NYC, Westchester, and LI

This park’s freestanding climbing walls can accommodate small and big climbers, and the whole set has different stations with built-in games and other activities, such as music boards, steering wheels, and tic-tac-toe. The play surface is a soft composite, and among the coolest features are the red stepping blocks raised from the blue ground that allow kids to pretend to cross water by jumping from block to block. There are also ample slides for all age groups. Kids can play and learn a bit abou

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Kids & Vegetables: What to Aim for, What to Expect, and When to Intervene

Every morning I purposefully pack a serving of vegetables into my kids’ lunchboxes: carrot sticks, cucumber slices—nothing fancy. Every afternoon, I open those lunchboxes back up and find most—if not all—of the vegetables still sitting there. I remember when my son was 1 year old and he happily gobbled up the pureed kale and brown rice cereal I made for him, and I wonder where I’ve gone wrong. Why don’t my kids like vegetables? Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, a registered dietician, reassures me that my

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How to Make Mom Friends While Social Distancing

Social distancing certainly complicates socializing, but it’s still possible to make new mom friends—and connect with old ones—during the pandemic. With a bit of effort and creativity, you can nurture friendships with other moms who’ll relate to what you’re going through, whether it’s teething troubles, teenage texting, or anything in between. How to Make New Mom Friends During the Pandemic In the absence of traditional meet-ups like parent-baby yoga classes and library story hours, the easiest

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33 Women's History Month Books to Inspire Confidence

Teach your kids about Women’s History with these 33 books for readers of all ages. It’s never too early to teach children about the changes brave women have brought to the world. Here are 33 titles to explore with your future leaders, whether they are currently learning to crawl or preparing college applications. 3 2 1 Awesome!: 20 Fearless Women Who Dared to Be Different By Eva Chen This colorfully illustrated counting book features role models from the past (Susan B. Anthony, Shirley Chi

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4 Ways to Address Noise Complaints from Your Neighbor

As soon as I heard the three swift knocks at the door, my stomach sank. I knew who it was, and why she was here. Again. Up against a deadline with a bunch of financial documents, I was working somewhat frantically at the kitchen table while my son played with Hotwheels cars in the other room. I knew what he was doing, because I heard each car swish against the floor. Unfortunately, my downstairs neighbor heard it, too. Noise complaints, as much a staple of city life as pigeons or giant pretzels,

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Is Twitch Safe for Kids?: A Guide for Parents

Twitch is an app that allows you to watch livestream videos of others playing video games (not to be confused with a video game streaming service, which allows you to play video games on your own device using a faraway server). Millions of viewers from around the globe use Twitch every day, and there are more than 1 million broadcasts going on at all hours. In other words, Twitch is huge. But what, exactly is the appeal of Twitch, and is it safe for kids to use? Twitch defines itself as a commun

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How to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Your Kids

When the holiday was first declared in 1983, 15 years after Dr. King’s assisnation, his widow, Coretta Scott King, wrote about wanting the day to be meaningful in a way that moves beyond the symbolic. “Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress." Eleven years later, Congress officially designated the holiday as a day of service, or, as it is commonly described, “a d

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22 Role Models for Girls That Will Empower Your Kids

The Eagle Huntress • recommended ages: 8 and older • stream it on Amazon, Google Play, YouTube Young Writers Who Are Role Models for Girls At age 22, poet Amanda Gorman has achieved more success than most writers ever dream of in a lifetime. Named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014, and the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, Gorman had already penned verses for a number of ceremonial occasions before she was selected to deliver the inaugural poem for President Biden as the

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Forming a "Pod" With Another Family Is the Only Thing That's Kept Me Sane During Quarantine

Last night we went over to our neighbors’ apartment. The kids ate cheese pizza in the kitchen and watched kids' movies on Netflix together in the bedroom. The adults ate pizza with arugula on it and drank wine in the living room. It could have been any relaxed Friday evening but, since March 23rd, when stay-at-home orders began due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these simple, low-key gatherings have taken on an illicit air. We’re not immediate family. We’ve formed a pod. Our kids are coronasiblings,

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Fertility, pregnancy & birth

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Cute nNcknames for Your Unborn Baby That Will Help You Bond

You’ll probably want to talk to your unborn baby at some point during your pregnancy, but how to address him or her? You may not have chosen a name yet, and might not even know the sex. In addition to helping you talk to your baby, his or her existence may feel more real when you can mention your baby in terms more specific than “it” or “the baby.” You might even use this nickname after the birth if you need a little time to finalize your name decision. If you have decided on a name but aren’t r

Postpartum Depression vs. Baby Blues: Here's How to Tell the Difference

In the momentous days and weeks following the birth of a child, it is normal to experience a roller coaster of emotions, including sadness. Your body undergoes significant physical changes post-birth, and at the same time, you go through the psychological transformation of becoming a parent. Feelings of overwhelm or anxiety during this time are commonly referred to as “the baby blues”, and they are both normal and expected. Postpartum depression, however, is a different diagnosis and a more seri

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Some First Trimester Problems Might be Serious

In terms of medical appointments, the first trimester of pregnancy can be pretty uneventful. You may not even see your provider until you are 10 to 12 weeks along, at which point you’ll begin the rituals of peeing in a cup, getting measured and weighed, and hearing your baby’s heartbeat. However, there are reasons to get in touch with your doctor or midwife sooner. The discomforts of early pregnancy are many and varied, but there are a few first trimester problems you shouldn’t ignore. Every pr

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The Only Way Out Is Through

The Only Way Out Is Through We hadn’t been downtown in months. The kids happily entertained themselves for the whole ride, swinging and climbing the jungle gym of the subway bars. I let them. There was hardly anyone else in the car, and at least they had their masks on. It was raining, but I had brought an umbrella for the two-avenue walk to the LEGO store. The display windows looked dim, though, as we approached. The kids ran up ahead of me to the front entrance and I found them there, hands

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No, Judge Barrett, An Embryo Is Not A Person

Allow me to speak, momentarily, on behalf of everyone who has ever endured the second half of an IVF cycle, tethered to some altered plane between joy and despair, and respond to the conservative claim, supported by Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, that an embryo is basically the same thing as a baby: if only that were fucking true. I’ve been through four IVF cycles, for a total of twelve living embryos transferred into my eager pink uterus while I tried to take deep, calming breaths an

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Doing it “right”

I was wary of making a birth plan. I knew that the unexpected is par for the course in childbirth and was afraid that the more demands I made, the more I was tempting fate. I had already been so lucky, pregnant with the last embryo (number 18!) from our second round of IVF after two tumultuous years of trying. As the weeks wore on, my belly swelled, my back ached, and my resolve to have the birth I wanted took solid form. We switched to a doctor with a very low C-section rate, at 4 percent. I b

Another presidential election rolls around, and I’m celebrating my ‘Obama baby’

I will never forget the night of Nov. 4, 2008: Feeling an electric rush when the results were called, seeing American flags unfurl and realizing that for the first time I wasn’t cringing at the sight of them, hearing through the open window what I can only describe as a roar of joy coming from Harlem, 20 blocks to the north. There were other things about the evening that are noteworthy only in hindsight. At the results-watching party we attended, I kept returning to the savory snacks and wasn’t

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What I Wish I'd Known Before Giving Birth

After my son was born, I lay flat on the delivery table, staring up at the dotted ceiling tiles. I could hear the clinking of the doctor's instruments down below, repairing what I would later learn was a third-degree tear. I noticed a window, and the darkness outside. I heard rain beating against the glass. For the first time in 20 hours, I formed a coherent thought: That was it? That was the birth experience I had been waiting for? I wished, already, that I could go back in time and do the who

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When This Happened, I Suddenly Stopped Caring About My Weight

I wanted to carry a baby like I wanted to be thin: for longer than I could remember. When my partner, Sarah, and I began exploring the possibility of me carrying our child, the whole project seemed tailor-made for my obsessive need for body control. I began to track my basal temperature and check my body for other signs of ovulation. As it turned out, other than my period blood, there were none. Something was up. We booked an appointment with a fertility specialist who immediately told me to sto


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Breastfeeding Can be Overwhelming: Make it Easier by Keeping a Log

Even if you are a super-organized, Type A person who never forgets a thing and is always on time, you can expect a few stumbles on the path to perfection in the days and weeks following your baby’s arrival. Birth is a significant physiological event, and your body will need time to recover. Your estrogen and progesterone levels also plummet back to normal after their pregnancy peak, which can impact your mental and emotional functioning. Add into the mix a little – or a lot – of sleep deprivatio

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When My Breasts Didn't Work, I Nursed My Baby Anyway

This story is part of our Real Women, Real Stories series, documenting the lived experiences of women along their health journeys. Please always consult your health care professional with personal concerns or questions. I'd always known there was something "off" about my breasts. They're small and shaped almost like cones, not the spheres that give magazine models an alluring décolletage. When I finally became pregnant, after attempting every fertility procedure I'd heard of, I barely had a cha

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Breasts half empty or half full?

Did you know? The poster on the wall on the doctor’s office beckoned, Breastfeeding reduces your child’s chances of . . . a list of illnesses followed. It was a long list. I cringed and looked away. I was there for an ultrasound, my baby still kicking in my belly, happily fed through our placenta. I hadn’t started breastfeeding yet, of course, but I already had a sinking feeling it wasn’t going to work out for me. My breasts hadn’t grown at all during pregnancy, and I had little faith that they

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My small breasts were an even bigger disappointment when they couldn’t feed my son

I always thought something was wrong with my breasts, and I finally learned what it was when I became a mom. I’ve known there was something wrong with my breasts since I was 13. They were small and lacked roundness—there was nothing to squeeze together to create the alluring cleavage the other girls my age had. As I went through adolescence without graduating from my AA training bras, I thought longingly of the day pregnancy would finally bring me “real” boobs. But my breasts didn’t grow with p

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My Breasts Never Grew, But I've Forgiven Them

I can still see the rosy pink shade of the tee-shirt I was wearing the afternoon in fourth grade when I stuck my face down into it and made an incredible discovery: I had boobs. Or the beginnings of them, at least. I could hardly contain my excitement. These little buds, I thought, were the first hint of the real woman who would emerge from my awkward girl's body. I would be tall and lean, and my breasts would perfectly fill out the most elegant dresses. I would be the sort of woman who stopped

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I Fed My Daughter Breast Milk I Found On The Internet

In my daughter's first year of life, 40 different women helped me feed her. On my daughter’s first birthday, I sat down during my lunch break to write thank you notes, mostly in the form of emails and Facebook messages, to the women who had helped me feed her that year. There were 40 of them. One was a gymnastics coach in town without her baby for a tournament. Another had a newborn in the NICU, taking just drops of the copious amount she produced every time she pumped. A number of them had b