Looking Back at the Most Popular Baby Names of 2015

Need help naming your baby? Choose from one the most popular names of 2015. #dumpcake

Baby Name Trends 2015
Parent Co projected baby naming trends of 2015. Do you want a kid whose name is on lists?

So, you’re going to have a baby.

Sure, you could pay this Swiss Company $32,000 to scheme up an original, completely one-of-a-kind name for your snowflake. But let’s get real. $32,000 is a huge investment in someone you haven’t even met yet. Yes, people name their kids before they’re born all the time, but it’s a roll of the dice.

“MY name is Steve! Steve’s a great name! WE HAVE TO NAME HIM THAT.” And then “he” comes out minus parts the sonogram wrongfully promised because the technician had too many daiquiris at lunch. Imagine putting $32 grand behind that decision. Steve will look beautiful in her prom dress, by the way.

[Tweet “Here at Parent.Co, we’re offering baby name services for a slashed price of $15,999.”]

As team of professional parents, we’ve collectively named over a dozen children we actually care about and 3 more that people have paid us to. One of our kid’s names even inspired the name of the main character in a blockbuster film. Trust us. We do juice cleanses and put fish oil in our espresso. We know things.

  • We scan the finest drugstore shelves, tropical farmers markets, pedigree dog shows, even the NASDAQ for the highest quality inspiration.
  • We will quadruple check for unfortunate acronyms by consulting with texting teens and cross checking medical journals.
  • We arrange hypnotherapy for both parents to compile an honest list of every sexual partner they’ve ever had to avoid subconscious leanings which could later, be grounds for divorce.
  • We have an in house team of particularly ruthless children of varying ages who participate in round table bullying sessions to determine the likelihood that your offspring could suffer based on our choices.
  • We will provide you with 3 choices. Feminine, masculine and gender neutral. You retain full license to all 3, which takes into consideration those who choose not to find out the sex ahead of time or the event the child’s “jaw line is not strong enough for such a bad-ass moniker”. (Thanks for your review, Tad from Greenpoint!) Should the child decide you got it wrong (listen, it’s not going to be the only time they’re going to challenge your authority. Get used to it.), the remaining two options are theirs for the taking. However, if your 18 year old daughter exercises her right to go rogue and renames herself Tawny Cherry to go work alongside the interstate, well, you probably went wrong at plenty of intersections besides name choice. We can not guarantee that invoking our services puts you on the perfect path.

Once our experts have compiled a list of six choices, we bring ourselves to you. With real life application, we’ll help you determine the 3 original one-of-a-kind namesakes for which you write your check.

  • One of us will accompany you on a shopping trip to TJ Maxx where we’ll hide in racks of clothing while you shout our proposed choices 57 times each. We will take notes from between the dresses on pitch and tone and which sit most naturally in your register. You will have the final say in the event our observations do not take into account that one of them makes you want to shave your head completely bald by utterance 43.
  • We’ll come to your house for the morning rush and spill a full bowl of cereal all over your freshly laundered work clothes while simultaneously recreating Van Gogh’s Starry Night all over freshly painted walls. (This is merely an example. We believe the element of surprise elicits the most natural reprimand on which to draw conclusions.)
  • We will provide you with a four inch stack of school intake forms, pediatrician questionnaires, little league sign ups, and permission slips so you can practice writing the sequence of letters you’ll have to scrawl several hundred thousand times for the rest of your life. Decide before committing that an eleven letter first name is too much to ask of anyone. Or not.

Feel free to contact us to set up a consultation.

 

Need to Know: Invisibilia Podcast

Busy parents Need to Know, so every week we highlight one album, book, app, movie or show that’s about blow up. More.

Perhaps you’ve already heard about Invisibilia, the latest blockbuster podcast from NPR. Filling a void left by Serial (and driven by NPR’s marketing), Invisibilia is already the #1 podcast on iTunes.

It probably won’t get a brilliant SNL spoof, but it will spark a million dinner party conversations, Twitter posts, and Facebook updates. It’s already trending on both platforms (that’s partly how we choose our “Need to Know” subjects.)

People enjoy pop entertainment, but we’re most engaged by information and facts. Discussing “the latest research” is our modern conversation crutch. “Backed by Science” will make anything sell. We’re drawn to stories woven together by data and real-world information, especially as they relate to the mystery of human behavior.

The producers of Invisibilia understand this perfectly. They say the show “interweaves narrative storytelling with fascinating new psychological and brain science. Listen and research will come to life in a way that will make you see your own life differently.”

With a description like that, it’s no wonder the show is trending. It will get bigger as new episodes come out and people begin discussing them over meals, at parties, and on social media all spring and this summer.

This season of Invisibilia promises extra juciness. It will “dig deep into our innermost minds — examining our dark, disturbing thoughts” and how they shape our identity and emotions.

The show’s production is as compelling as its subject. Co-hosts Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller (from Radiolab and This American Life) balance facts, anecdotes, story, and conversation to keep the show flowing.

Do yourself a favor and listen to the first episode. At least you’ll be able to say “yeah, I listened to the first episode” when everyone is talking about it. It’s a bonus if you get hooked and keep listening week after week.

Learn more and listen to Invisiblia online.

Here’s how to listen to a podcast on a Mac, iPhone or Android devices.

Follow the show on Twitter [stag_icon icon=”twitter” url=”https://twitter.com/nprinvisibilia” size=”18px” new_window=”no”]. You can also follow co-host Alix Spiegel on Twitter [stag_icon icon=”twitter” url=”https://twitter.com/aspiegelnpr” size=”18px” new_window=”no”]

Download the podcast on iTunes [stag_icon icon=”apple” url=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/npr-invisibilia-podcast/id953290300?mt=2″ size=”18px” new_window=”no”]

Read more about it in the New Yorker and on the Daily Beast.

How to Listen to a Podcast

Everything you wanted to know about podcasting but didn’t feel like Googling.

Everything you wanted to know about podcasting but didn’t feel like Googling.

Podcast was the word of the year… in 2005 (10 years ago!!) Serial was seemingly listened to by everyone on Earth. However, a few people have sheepishly asked me how to listen to podcasts. They’re not alone. The question is common enough that Ira Glass made a video to help people listen to Serial (embedded below.)

As Ira says in the video, Apple’s Podcast app is probably the easiest way for people with iPhones and iPads to get started. In iOS 8, the  Podcast app is included by default. You can also download it for free here. In my opinion, the only nice thing about this app is that it syncs podcast settings across devices. Otherwise, I’ve found it buggy and unreliable.

I use and recommend Overcast to download and manage Podcasts on iPhone. On my Mac I simply use iTunes. You can see how to do that here.

For Android phones and tablets, try the Stitcher app on Google Play (it’s also in the App Store). Search for the podcast you want to listen to and click the plus sign (+), to add it to your Favorites List. Now go to the Favorites List.  Tell it to download new episodes by clicking the gear in the upper right corner.

The Next Web listed “8 Great Apps for Listening to Podcasts on Android and iOS

Here’s that video from Ira Glass and Mary on how to listen to podcasts.

Parents of the 80’s- An interview from the future

I recently sparked a debate with my mother when I suggested that just maybe parenting these days is more difficult than when she raised me. Sure, the improvements in disposable diapers alone give a good amount of leverage to her argument, however, there’s no comparing the scrutiny of every little decision today’s parents make. International discussions can be launched when one family makes an informed, calculated decision to allow their kids to take a walk to the park. At any moment you’re one click away from a steady stream of photos and anecdotes of people who are doing it better than you. Battles are waged in comment boxes over everything from breastfeeding to staying home with your kids. It gets exhausting.

So instead of taking the low road and fighting with my mother, I’m proving my point by conducting an imaginary interview from the future with a mother in 1985.

How do your kids ride in the car?

Well, when they were babies, we had a seat that we’d usually set down in the back, unless we weren’t going far. Then we’d just toss it up front. When they outgrew that we had a giant vinyl monstrosity. It weathered carsickness well, but caused the poor kid to sweat from every pore in their 28 pound body. Thankfully a good old seatbelt suffices for the three year old, and stretches across the laps of a couple of them when we carpool.

Where is your 3rd grader right now?

At the school playground a few blocks away. He’ll come home when he’s hungry. Or it gets dark.

How much screen time do you allow?

We have our regular line up of shows we watch as a family and they can play Super Mario Brothers until the machine gets too hot or they start fighting.

Can you confirm that the plastic in your kids’ toys and eating utensils is BPA free?

What?

How much of your kid’s food is organic? 

Are Spaghettios organic? No? Then I have no idea.

What is your policy on your child having a cell phone?

Cellphones cost $4,000. And who do they need to call?

How many ideas do you have pinned in your “kid’s birthday party” folder?

I’m not sure I understand the question. I don’t even have a folder for their birth certificates. Why would I have a folder about birthday parties? What’s to decide? I order a cake from the grocery store and we buy a pack of character plates from Kmart and call it a day. A few times we’ve sprung for the party package at the roller skating rink. They warm pizza with a light bulb and throw in some ice cream cups with tiny wooden spoons.

Without checking, how many bottles of sunblock are currently in your house?

Do you mean baby oil?

When is it acceptable to leave your kid in the car alone?

When I lock the doors?

There. I win.

What do you think? Does anyone ever have it “easier”?

Posted on Categories Back Talk

Oscar-Nominated Movies You Can Watch From Home

Several people suggested that we share Julie Whitaker’s article “2015 Oscar-Nominated Movies You Can Watch From Home.” After all, it’s usually difficult for parents (especially of younger children) to find time to get out to a movie.

My partner and I still go to the movies, though it’s only about once a month for the latest special effects bonanza. We prefer to stream more thoughtful movies at home. You know, with a glass of wine.

 

Your Ultimate Snow Day

With the northeast poised to be slammed by the type of snow storm that clears grocery store shelves of everything from cartons of milk to decks of playing cards, it seems likely many kids are going to be home from school tomorrow whether they sleep with their pajamas inside out or not.

We know there’s a range of emotion that occurs when you’re staring down the barrel of being snowed in with children. Panic, excitement, and anxiety, followed by a mental inventory of toilet paper, alcohol, and hidden junk food stashes. So in an effort to take some of the work off your shoulders, we’ve scheduled your ultimate snow day. And if your kids argue about any of the plans, well, tell them you’re sorry but it’s on the list.

Night before preparations

  • Set bowls outside to catch the base for your sugar on snow
  • Put the cereal on the table and the milk on the lowest shelf for easy access and perhaps snag yourself a few extra moments of snow day “sleeping in”.
  • If your driveway is long, park at the end of it. Save yourself a few feet of necessary snow removal.

Morning Prep

  • In the event the cereal didn’t cut it, throw down a real snow day breakfast by whipping up these no frills pancakes, or pull out the bisquick. Out of eggs? No problem. Blow their minds by using snow. (WHAT?! It’s true. We learned it on the internet.) Two heaping tablespoons of it can replace 1 egg. Freshly fallen works best, which is great. You might be up to your eyeballs in it.
  • Challenge all participants to a winter gear round up. Capitalize on their inherent need to win and be fast while sparing yourself getting everyone dressed.

Outside

  • Sure, you could build a regular old snowman with a jaunty hat, carrot nose, and some rock buttons. Or you could be the house on the block that makes the rules by building one of these bad boys.
  • Drag your sleds to the nearest hill and bring along a serious shovel. How else do you plan to engineer an epic jump? (Pro tip: Bring some water if the snow is powdery.)
  • Fill spray bottles with water and food coloring. Turn the white canvas into winter graffiti. Don’t use just red. Unless you’re going for a look that’s more hunter/maniac chic.
  • Stage a snowball fight, or if you want to minimize the likelihood of tears, hang a cardboard target from a tree instead.

Are they asking to come in yet?

Any dissenters who aren’t old enough to stay outside alone? Haul some snow inside by the bucketful and fill the bathtub. Retrieve the sand toys you never got around to packing away properly anyway and let them have at it while you move on to warmer things.

Inside

  • Here’s the part of the day where you get all jedi mind trick. Do you want a clean house and happy entertained kids? Inform the crew that the house is about to become a movie theater. However, first that’s going to require a bit of organizing and cleaning up, for which they will earn (fake) money to be spent on the afternoon’s blockbuster. Pillows, blankets and cushions can transform the viewing area, and the craftier among the group can fashion tickets and signs. The cash they earn can pay the entrance fee and all the popcorn and hot chocolate they can eat.
  • Post movie, turn the theater into an ultimate fort for the evening’s board game competition.

Hopefully you’re well stocked on the essentials. And if they’re home longer than a day, remember if they’re old enough to walk, they’re old enough to shovel.

Playlist – Making & Baking

You could pull out a box of mac and cheese. But you’re taking it the extra mile and cooking a slammin’ dinner. Here are some kid-friendly tunes to blast while you make it happen.

You could pull out a box of mac and cheese. But you’re taking it the extra mile and cooking a slammin’ dinner. Here are some kid-friendly tunes to blast while you make it happen.

Songs in this mix:

Lost in the Supermarket – The Clash
Flipsiide – Last Splash
Rapper’s Delight – The Sugarhill Gang
I Got The Feelin’ – James Brown
Let’s Dance (Single Version) – David Bowie
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) – Arcade Fire
Wild Wild Life – Talking Heads

Tacky Parenting 101

In a world where people un-ironically name their children Unique and produce enough bizarre maternity photo shoots to provide fodder for entire blogs dedicated to the genre, it’s hard to believe that the Tacky Parenting ante could be upped. But ladies and gentleman, we may have a new unit of measure.

Being billed for flaking out on attending a 5 year old’s birthday party.

Yes, this actually happened. Here’s the story if you haven’t heard it yet. 

As a parent, I’ve been billed for a lot of things. Doctors appointments, karate uniforms, school field trips, and bike tune ups are the sort of things I’ve come to expect as the cost of raising kids. Yet in 9+ years, no one has ever slipped an invoice into my child’s backpack for an afternoon of snow tubing that he declined to participate in.

I suppose if I had, I’d be writing this with my head fused to the carpet.

Sure, saying you’ll show up for something and going full MIA on the day of has its own level of tacky, but there’s an endless list of acceptable excuses for such an offense. I can’t really come up with a decent one for side stepping an honest conversation and demanding payment from another parent for not following through on accepting a birthday party invite.

For one thing, five year olds are not reliable people. Hell, some of them still lick things they find on the ground. Being unwilling to absorb costs associated with the decisions of people who likely still pooped in their pants less than one presidential election ago is unrealistic.

And for another, when did elementary school birthday parties hurl themselves into the stratosphere of wedding planning? I get that some people elect to throw parties that have a per head cost. However, if $15 puts enough of a dent in your wallet that you need to recoup the loss, maybe next year bake a cake, toss up some streamers and beat the crap out of a pinata in the backyard.

 

Posted on Categories Back Talk

5 Links: Screentime, Bedtime Reading, Kid App Trends

Trendy topics last week included the importance of reading to kids, and the potential overuse of technology by children.

Over on Medium, Gary Vaynerchuk writes “I refuse to limit or restrict hours on a screen for my children” because “it’s prepping them for the world that is going to to be. Straight up.” Read it here.

Meanwhile, the Guardian posted 10 children’s app trends for 2015 by Stuart Dredge that’s definitely worth a read if apps are part of your family life.

A study discussed in The Telegraph shows that books at bedtime can help children learn more quickly. In the New York Times, a new study unsurprisingly shows that Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own.”

This is a good time to again recommend @gweinger’s Medium post, “Be selfish: keep reading to your kids.”

Wrapping it all up, on the Daily Beast @Samantha Allen writes that “men will have someday have kids without women.” I thought jetpacks and hoverboards were the priority.