Category: Parenting Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
You’re a New Dad—Now What?
First-time fathers experience many emotions: love, responsibility, protectiveness, and even fear. And, whatever the father’s relationship is with the baby’s mother, both parents’ lives are forever changed. But it’s important to remember that while much of the attention may be on new mothers, fathers can—and do-- perform all aspects of child care (except breastfeeding).
According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), fathers of infants face special challenges. These tips, when followed, can help reduce stress and build healthy routines.
Tip #1: Learn to survive without sleep. Babies do not have established sleep patterns that align with yours. Especially during the first few months, it is important to sleep when you can. If the baby is napping, try to take a nap, too. And, when possible, go to bed early so that when the baby wakes up during the night you will awaken having had some rest.
Tip #2: Manage stress. Your baby is 100 percent dependent on others for all of his or her needs. And many of your caregiving responsibilities may be brand new. This can be stressful. Do your best to eat well, exercise, and accept help from others--grandparents, siblings, or close friends--who can give you and the baby’s mother a break. And, give yourself a break, too. Laundry and other household chores are less important than caring for the baby, the baby’s mother, and yourself.
Tip #3: Share in the feeding. Even if the baby’s mother is breastfeeding, you can participate by bringing the baby to her or changing the baby’s diaper. If it is a late-night feeding, you can take the baby afterwards until he has gone to sleep. The more rested each member of the family is, the less stress there will be (see Tips 1 & 2 above). And, if you are both working outside the home, taking turns on late-night baby care will go a long way to ensuring you both have enough sleep to be productive.
Tip #4: Establish a routine. We are all creatures of habit. The sooner you establish a routine for the baby the sooner he or she will adopt regular sleeping habits, which will be good for the entire family.
Tip #5: Give Mom a break. Take the baby out of the house for an hour or so—for a walk, to the grocery store, wherever—to ensure that Mom has some down time. More importantly, this will provide you with one-on-one baby time.
Tip #6: Invest in your relationship. While each of you is getting used to your new role--“father” or “mother”--don’t forget that you are parents together. Continue to support each other as you incorporate a third person into your established relationship. And, dads, recognize that you likely will no longer be the #1 focus in the family; be understanding as everyone adjusts to their new roles.
Tip #7: Build trust. When an infant cries, your response (a clean diaper, a bottle, or simply holding her) will begin to establish trust. Providing a consistent, timely response shows the baby that you care for her and she can count on you.
Tip #8: Live with imperfection. No one is perfect. Neither are you. Being a parent is a new adventure. Learn from your experiences and talk to other dads to gain other perspectives. As long as you provide a safe, nurturing environment for your baby, you will learn how to become a better parent. A good resource for new parents, especially mothers, is text4baby. Simply text "BABY" (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411receive three free text messages a week, timed to the mother’s due date or the baby's birth date, through pregnancy and up until the baby’s first birthday.
Tip #9: Keep good records. It’s important to ensure you have key information that you will need to refer to throughout the years. This includes your pediatrician’s contact information, as well as the baby’s immunization schedule, birth certificate, and Social Security Number. By gathering this information early and updating it regularly you will be prepared when it is needed most.
Tip #10: Enjoy today. It may be cliché to say that they grow up fast, but it’s true! Learn to enjoy this unique time in your baby’s life when the most basic things—riding in the stroller, watching a ceiling fan, or trying new foods—are both new and exciting. Looking at and experiencing things as your child does can give you a whole new appreciation for life.
“Learning from other fathers and sharing your own experiences results in children who have more engaged, positive relationships with their dads,” says NRFC Kenneth Braswell. “The larger the circle of caring adults the more likely children will know that they are loved.”
While you may be a new father, fatherhood is a lifelong commitment. The NRFC offers practical tools and resources to provide guidance at every stage of your child’s development. Visit www.fatherhood.gov or call 877-4DAD411. Stay in touch with the NRFC on Facebook and Twitter.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 10:27
Category: Relationships Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Drawing from more than 25 years of legal experience as a matrimonial lawyer, Chicago-based attorney Lester L. Barclay has authored The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking Down, the first-ever comprehensive book on divorce tailored specifically for African-Americans. The 277-page guide skillfully shepherds readers through the often painful process of separation and divorce, while seeking to minimize the "drama" and trauma for them and their children. Its message focuses primarily on divorce and non-marital separation, alongside custody, visitation, child support, financial disputes, and related issues in the context of African-American cultural and social realities.
The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama is Barclay's first book, and the initial offering from Khari Publishing, Ltd. It officially debuted at BookExpo America 2013 in New York City, May 29 - June 1. The book, which features a foreword by TV's Judge Mablean Ephriam, will be available (via www.DivorceandDrama.com) for pre-orders starting June 3, with a national release slated for June 27.
"The points I discuss in the book are drawn directly from my many years of helping Black families navigate through a trying ordeal made that much more difficult due to a basic lack of information and understanding," says Barclay. "And the impact of a painful divorce is felt well beyond the two principals involved; it affects friends, extended family and especially the children. Whether you are in the midst of a separation, or simply interested in learning more about the process and its unique impact in our community, this guide is a helpful tool in ensuring the experience is respectful, professional and drama-free."
More than 50 percent of all African-American marriages end in divorce, not counting the non-marital breakups. Most often, the breakdown of a family affects the children. Throughout the U.S., families are torn apart by divorce and its consequences. Worse still, much of the emotional pain and fighting is unnecessary. A divorce does not have to be an emotional bloodbath. There is a better way.
Drama, as the author defines it, is "a situation (or a series of happenings) that marks a vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking impression on a person's life...is highly emotional, turbulent, and sometimes tragic." With The African-American Guide To Divorce & Drama, Barclay, a highly respected African-American attorney and managing partner of The Barclay Law Group, provides readers with a user-friendly guide that supplements the service of divorce attorneys and shows them how to make the divorce process as peaceful as possible. His aim is to help Black divorce litigants reduce the level of "drama" in their divorce cases.
Via the book's 22 chapters and multiple sections, Barclay underscores the unique cultural distinctions underlying most African-American divorces and separations, including such areas as the matriarchal composition of many black families, the influential role of the Black Church, and the community's general reluctance to seek mental health therapy, among others. The guide covers divorce drama and its aftermath in five dimensions: personal, legal and financial, family, community, and "What Now?"
Crafted to be informative and engaging, The African-American Guide To Divorce & Drama offers readers a 360-degree view of the process, highlighted by such chapter and topic titles as "I'm Mad As Hell," "I Need A Man," "I Need A Woman," "The Word At The Church," "Money Versus Peace," "25 Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Attorney," "11 Biggest Pre-Divorce Mistakes To Avoid," "14 Biggest Post-Divorce Mistakes,"among many others.
There are also sections titled "Act Now," where Barclay provides step-by-step directions and tips, guiding divorced parties toward achieving a "drama-free" divorce. These timely suggestions address various scenarios and occasions. They encourage new ways to think and act by advising paths a divorcing man, woman, or parent should take, and certainly should not take. By applying "Act Now" recommendations, readers can successfully empower their emergence through breakup, divorce, its process, and aftermath.
Whether readers are contemplating separation or divorce, in the middle of divorce, or seeking to recover from a breakup, The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama will provide assistance for healing and wholeness, and protecting their children in the ordeal. Hardly any issue related to divorce and drama in the black experience goes uncovered.
About The Author
Lester L. Barclay is the managing partner of The Barclay Law Group in Chicago, Illinois. A graduate of Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve University School of Law, he has practiced matrimonial law since 1985. In that time, he has earned a sterling reputation as a skilled litigator who seeks to maintain the family's integrity during and after divorce. His passionate calling is to help children, who are so often collateral damage in custody and divorce matters. Frequently, the court appoints him Guardian Ad Litem to protect the interests of children in marital breakup. His influential and ethnically diverse law firm serves an equally diverse clientele. The firm's list of clients has included Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Estate of Emmett Till, and the National Black Evangelical Association, and the handling of family law matters involving professional athletes Eddy Curry, Richard Dent, Antwaan Randle El and Dwyane Wade.
Lester L. Barclay lives in Chicago with his wife, Dr. Sue Barclay, and their three children. The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking Down is his first book.
About Khari Publishing, Ltd.
Khari Publishing, Ltd. was established in 2013. Its mission is to fill a void in the African-American community by publishing media resources on divorce and related matters that are useful for reducing the relationship drama among African-Americans. The initial publication of Khari Publishing, Ltd. is the groundbreaking book released in Summer 2013: The African-American Guide to Divorce and Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking Down, by Attorney Lester L. Barclay.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 15:51
Category: LifeStyle Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
While it’s important to maintain a regular health and wellness regimen, busy schedules and last minute commitments can sometimes send us off track. Many Americans may try to maintain a balanced diet but continue to fall short on valuable key nutrients necessary for a healthy body.
In fact, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the overall quality of the American diet gets a failing grade. According to the Healthy Eating Index, adults (19+ years) score just 50 out of 100 on the quality of their diets.
While hectic lifestyles may play a role in this failing grade, registered dietitian and best-selling author, Dave Grotto has a few simple and effective tips to maintain proper nutrition even when time is tight.
Eat nutrient-filled meals. Set aside five minutes to pack a healthy lunch before you head to work each day. Prepare meals such as a salad with grilled chicken or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread – healthy options that provide a combination of protein and fiber to give you sustained energy throughout the day. “It’s vital that we find ways to get the nutrients our bodies need and eating well-balanced meals can do just that,” says Grotto.
Take your vitamins. In addition to proper food choices, quality dietary supplements can be helpful to fill nutrient gaps. As someone who believes that the vitamin experience can be enjoyable. Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Rest and relaxation can help to rejuvenate your mind, and is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Not only does Grotto recommend getting six to eight hours of sleep a night, he also suggests keeping to the same bedtime each night. Maintaining such a simple routine can really do the body good.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 16:08
Category: LifeStyle Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Playing together outdoors is the perfect way for families to bond while staying active and fit, but when seasonal allergies come into play they can keep many families on the sidelines. Allegra is setting out this season to show people there’s no reason to suffer if you have the right relief, and has teamed up with basketball star Lisa Leslie to share fun, affordable workout tips that help families enjoy the outdoors even during allergy season.
“As an athlete and a mom, there’s nothing I enjoy more than getting outside to shoot
oops or run around with my kids, but when our allergy symptoms act up it can keep my whole family indoors,” says Leslie. “I am thrilled to show families that with the help of Allegra their seasonal allergies don’t have to stop them from being outdoors and having fun.”
Lisa shares how to utilize simple household items and a little imagination to transform any backyard or outdoor space in to a family fitness center:
•Scavenger Hike: Turn a family hike into a scavenger hunt; come up with a fun has partnered with Nature Made® in support of their VitaMelts™ line. “Nature Made VitaMelts come in great flavors like juicy orange and melt smoothly in your mouth without water which provides an enjoyable vitamin experience,” says Grotto. “Plus they come in a handy, portable flip-top pack which can fit perfectly in your gym bag, or work bag, an added convenience factor on days you may not be eating as properly as you should.”
Stay active and enjoy the sunshine. Even if it is minimal, find time to move each day while you’re at work; take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a ten minute walk around the block.
List of challenges like climbing over a log, finding a pinecone, skipping down an entire trail or racing to the birch tree and back.
•Driveway Drills: Using chalk and cardboard boxes you can create your own basketball court on the driveway. Have the kids draw free throw lines and see who can bounce or throw the ball into the card board box “hoop.”
•Time for Fun: Use your kitchen timer or a stopwatch to time kids in sprints, relays and jumping jack sessions; record times on a dry erase
block. An added benefit of being outdoors, even for a short amount of time, is the exposure to sunlight, which helps skin produce vitamin D3. Unfortunately, many food sources do not provide nearly enough vitamin D to meet dietary recommendations. Grotto recommends a vitamin supplement such as Nature Made VitaMelts Vitamin D3 in a creamy vanilla flavor.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 16:11
Category: Food Written by Food & Wine
Courtesy Of Food & Wine
ACTIVE: 25 MIN
TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN
SERVINGS: 8 TO 10
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (See Note)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder (See Note)
2/3 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
MAKE THE CAKE Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and coat lightly with flour. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the 1 stick of butter with the shortening until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla. At very low speed, beat in the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the 2 1/4 cups of cake flour and the milk in 3 separate alternating batches, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl occasionally.
Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes, then invert them onto a rack and let cool completely.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING In a large saucepan, combine 2 1/2 cups of the water with the sugar, corn syrup and cocoa powder and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. In a bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup of water until smooth; whisk into the cocoa mixture. Cook over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, 3 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter, vanilla and salt. Scrape the filling into a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling (you should have about 5 cups). Let cool, then refrigerate until firm, 45 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, halve each cake layer horizontally. Break up the less attractive top cake layer and transfer to a food processor; pulse into crumbs. Reserve the two cake bottoms and one smoother top.
Set one of the cake bottoms on a cake plate and spread with 1 1/2 cups of the filling. Top with the second bottom layer and another 1 1/2 cups of filling. Cover with the cake top and spread the remaining filling all over the top and side. Pat the crumbs all over the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
The chocolate cake can be refrigerated overnight.
Natural cocoa powder is one of two types of unsweetened cocoa. It’s bitter and adds intense chocolate flavor to the cake. Don’t use Dutch-process or other alkalized cocoa; when combined with baking soda, it can make a cake taste soapy.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 09:06
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