Letter from the Editor June 2011

Jenna Hammond

Reflecting on her good fortune in separating her son from his beloved binky, a friend recently recounted an adorable story. After months of plotting to convince her toddler that he was a big enough boy to cease his pacifier habit, the child shuffled past the mom all by his lonesome one unsuspecting day to abandon his favorite accessory since birth. "Done," the 3 year old said as he plopped a pacifier in the trash. Of course, for weeks afterward the boy cried his eyes out while pleading for his other pacifiers. But empowered by her son's mature act of saying bye-bye, binky, the mom refused to submit. "I was so impressed by you being a big boy," she told her son, "that I got rid of the rest of your binkies."

Until her boy stopped demanding a pacifier, this mom wasn't sure if she had done the right thing. Should she have allowed him a pacifier on occasion? Or could the habit lead to dental problems and other issues if not nipped in the bud?

If you're wondering whether to break your child of his penchant for pacifiers, flip to "Parting with the Pacifier." The article by freelance journalist and mom Malia Jacobson, who is also a self-professed "former binky addict," details when and why to wean children off of pacifiers. Jacobson follows up the wisdom with five pointers for getting kids to make a clean break with minimal tears.

The father in the family I describe earlier was not home the moment his son had a pacifier breakthrough. However, this dad had demands of his own, including to provide for his family. Besides, once he was able to, the father changed offices just to have a speedy commute to see the rest of his son's milestones.

Like the mom in this equation, the dad says his most important job is being a parent. And like the dad who writes this month's article in honor of Father's Day, the dad of the pacifier-forfeiting boy has stayed committed to his parenting profession while battling cancer. To read more on what it means to be the best parent possible in good fortune and bad, turn to the article "Fatherhood." Author, cancer survivor and single dad Jim Higley recounts that life's surprises aren't always blessings, as with the binky-tossing episode. Yet faced with a cancer diagnosis while trying to be both "mom and dad" to his kids, Higley discovered how to be the best parent possible.

What does being the best parent possible mean for you? How can you turn good times and bad into an opportunity to grow as a parent? It's not always easy. To end things on a lighter note while you ponder this, at least I have the answer for turning your children's birthdays into the happiest of days. Merely consult our Birthday Party Directory, which features party places and entertainers to make every occasion a celebration. From the binky years to adulthood, there's always something to celebrateó especially being a parent.

Happy Father's Day. Enjoy the issue.

Jenna Hammond