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20 Best Parenting Moments of 2011

The year 2011 may have had its low points in parenting (at least in my house), but it also had plenty to celebrate. A woman ran a marathon, stopped for a sandwich, and then had a baby. Conjoined twins were separated. Soldiers came home to their families.

From medical research that astounded us to bedtime stories that made us nearly pee our pants laughing, here are the 20 best parenting moments of 2011. (And one little bonus video at the end.)



  • 1. White House Tackles Bullying in Summit 1 of 20
    1. White House Tackles Bullying in Summit
    In March, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the White House's first-ever Conference on Bullying Prevention. The summit brought together parents, students, and education experts to discuss preventing bullying online and in schools. Additionally, anti-bullying legislation was proposed with a bipartisan bill, "Safe Schools Improvement Act," in the Senate.
    Photo Credit:MorgueFile
  • 2. Advances in Autism Research Coming “Fast and Furious” 2 of 20
    2. Advances in Autism Research Coming "Fast and Furious"
    Multiple research studies on autism in 2011 shed new light on this complex disorder. Researchers found genetic mutations linked to autism. Differences in brain scans and brain size may one day help diagnose people with autism. And a five-minute questionnaire will help doctors identify autism as early as the 12-month well-check.
    Photo Credit: Kendall Powell
  • 3. Moms and Daughters Bond over Royal Wedding (and Royal Hats) 3 of 20
    3. Moms and Daughters Bond over Royal Wedding (and Royal Hats)
    In April, moms and daughters got up at the crack of dawn world-wide to watch the storybook wedding of Britain's Prince William to Catherine Middleton. We oohed and ahhed over her gorgeous dress, her stunning hair, and her adorable sister Pippa. But mostly we wet our pants laughing at the insane hats.
    Image Credit: Imgur
  • 4. Backlash Against Provocative Clothes for Girls 4 of 20
    4. Backlash Against Provocative Clothes for Girls
    Also in April, father and CNN columnist L.Z. Granderson wrote an opinion piece titled "Parents, Don't Dress Your Girls Like Tramps", that became one of the most shared parenting stories of the year. Bonus: Seeing that column show up in all my friends' Facebook feeds reinforced that I am not, in fact, "the meanest, most uncool mom on the planet."
    Photo Credit: MorgueFile
  • 5. Bedtime Got a LOT Funnier 5 of 20
    5. Bedtime Got a LOT Funnier
    In June, Adam Mansbach published the now-classic bedtime story spoof, Go the F--- to Sleep. The book, intended only for parents, contained such rhymes as "The cats nestle close to their kittens now. / The lambs have laid down with the sheep. / You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear. / Now go the f--- to sleep." Although some were offended by the rampant vulgarity throughout the book, most parents found it hilarious. The audiobook, read by Samuel L. Jackson (who else?), was also a best-seller.
  • 6. This Just In: Red Wine, Chocolate Are Good for You 6 of 20
    6. This Just In: Red Wine, Chocolate Are Good for You
    Compounds in red wine may stop the growth of breast cancer cells, reported Italian scientists in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in July. The British Medical Journal followed up nicely, reporting in August that eating chocolate lowered patients' risk of stroke by up to 37 percent.
    Remember: You can't take care of your kids if you don't take care of yourself.
    Photo Credit: MorgueFile
  • 7. Demi Lovato Brings Mental Health Issues to the Forefront 7 of 20
    7. Demi Lovato Brings Mental Health Issues to the Forefront
    Ms. Lovato's openness about in-patient treatment for an eating disorder, and then her public discussion of her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, gave parents a way to broach tough topics with their teens. When critics said she looked "chunky" at the August 2011 Video Music Awards , the 18-year-old star responded defiantly: "Guess what, I'm healthy and happy, and if you're hating on my weight you obviously aren't," she tweeted.
    (Photo Credit: Paige Kaitlyn Concerts)
  • 8. Parents Shame Retailer into Pulling Demeaning Shirt Off Website 8 of 20
    8. Parents Shame Retailer into Pulling Demeaning Shirt Off Website
    In September, JC Penney launched a shirt for girls that read, "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother does it for me." After hordes of offended parents barraged JC Penney with emails, tweets, and calls, the store yanked the shirt off their website within hours. The moral of the story here is that you can't mess with a bunch of irritated moms who have access to the Internet. We will annoy you until you bend to our will.
  • 9. Breaking News: Coffee is Awesome 9 of 20
    9. Breaking News: Coffee is Awesome
    In September, Harvard University scientists reported that women who drink two to three cups of coffee are less likely to experience depression.
    In November, researchers at Harvard University reported that habitual coffee drinking may reduce women's risk of certain types of cancer. Props to Harvard for finally producing useful medical research that, for once, doesn't make moms feel guilty. Now getting that extra shot of espresso doesn't seem like an indulgence, it's a necessity. In fact, we may just skip the gym today in favor of putting on a second pot of coffee. Think of your children. You need to knock back another pumpkin spice latte for them.
    (Photo Credit: MorgueFile)
  • 10. Conjoined Twins Separated: 1 in 10 Million Success Story 10 of 20
    10. Conjoined Twins Separated: 1 in 10 Million Success Story
    Conjoined twins Ritag and Rital Gaboura were born joined at the head, giving them a one in ten million chance of surviving past early infancy. In September, the one-year-old girls were successfully separated in a complex surgery at a British Hospital. The girls, who were born in Khartoum, Sudan, are still doing fine.
    Also in September, doctors in Memphis separated Joshua and Jared Spates, who were joined back-to-back. The doctors had practiced the intricate surgery on Cabbage Patch dolls ahead of time.
    Photo Credit: Flickr/AnkurP
  • 11. Woman Gives Birth Right After Completing Chicago Marathon 11 of 20
    11. Woman Gives Birth Right After Completing Chicago Marathon
    In October, Amber Miller, 39 weeks pregnant, completed the Chicago Marathon in 6 hours, 25 minutes. As she finished the race, she developed regular contractions. She then stopped to get a sandwich, and headed to the hospital. Her healthy baby girl, June, was 7 lbs., 13 oz. Ms. Miller called it "the longest day of her life." Can you imagine how rough it would have been if she hadn't stopped for that sandwich?
    Photo Credit: Flickr/Blipsman
  • 12. Woman Who Was Mistakenly Implanted with Another Couples Baby, Has Twins 12 of 20
    12. Woman Who Was Mistakenly Implanted with Another Couples Baby, Has Twins
    When Carolyn Savage, struggling with infertility, was mistakenly implanted with another couple's baby in a fertility clinic error, she carried that baby to term for the biological parents, and handed the baby over. This year, Carolyn and her husband Sean welcomed twin girls into their family, carried for them by surrogate Jennifer Onash.
    Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • 13. Jessica Simpsons Overshares Make Pregnancy Sweat Glam 13 of 20
    13. Jessica Simpsons Overshares Make Pregnancy Sweat Glam
    Jessica Simpson continues to enjoy the heck out of her pregnancy, telling People in November that her pregnancy "glow" was actually sweat, and proudly tweeting about her immense capacity for flatulence. She also tweeted about her "Sunday morning cereal craving," along with a photo of five boxes of cereal on a supermarket checkout counter. Ms. Simpson is due in the spring of 2012.
    Photo Credit: John VanderHaagen
  • 14. 5-year-old Rails Against Gender-Based Marketing 14 of 20
    14. 5-year-old Rails Against Gender-Based Marketing
    In a video that went viral in December, five-year-old Riley Maida let loose a surprisingly articulate rant against the marketing of pink princess toys to girls only. "Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses," she points out. "Some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses. So why does all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?" We don't know, Riley. We. Don't. Know.
  • 15. Breastfeeding Moms Stage Nurse-Ins 15 of 20
    15. Breastfeeding Moms Stage Nurse-Ins
    After Michelle Hickman was asked to move to a dressing room to breastfeed her baby in a Webster, TX Target, moms staged a nurse-in at 250 Target stores across the country on December 28. Hickman, who was completely covered while nursing, was told by a Target employee in November that she had to move because Target "is a family-friendly place." Target pledged to continue to educate its employees on its corporate policy of welcoming breastfeeding mothers to nurse in their stores.
    Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley
  • 16. Scientists Develop Quantitative Theory of Tantrums 16 of 20
    16. Scientists Develop Quantitative Theory of Tantrums
    Using microphone-enhanced onesies, scientists recorded hundreds of hours of tantrums: the screaming, the kicking, the yelling, the crying. The patterns discovered may help parents, teachers, and medical providers to differentiate between normal tantrums and those that may signal a developmental disorder. Psychological advancements aside, the reason this is on the Best Parenting Moments list is because, for once, the hours and hours of tantrums didn't occur in my house.
    Photo Credit: John Beeler
  • 17. ‘Pregnancy Brain Makes You a Good Mommy 17 of 20
    17. ‘Pregnancy Brain Makes You a Good Mommy
    A study review in the psychology journal Current Directions in Psychological Science showed that so-called "pregnancy brain" and "mommy brain" may be important in keeping moms less rattled by stress and able to wake up in the middle of the night. High sex hormones in a woman's body during pregnancy may lead to the "fuzzy" brain and memory problems, says Laura Glynn, a psychologist and study review author at California's Chapman University. But the benefit, says Glynn, "is a more sensitive, effective mother" who's in tune with her baby. Now, if I could only find my car keys …
    Photo Credit: Dave Dugdale
  • 18. Smart-mouthed Teens Also Smart About Drugs 18 of 20
    18. Smart-mouthed Teens Also Smart About Drugs
    A study showed that teens who are proficient at arguing with their parents use those same skills when faced with peer pressure. (Annoying related news: now my kid wants a medal for being a sass-mouth.)
    Photo Credit: Alena Navarro-Whyte
  • 19. Walmart and Amazon Lobby for Rage-free Packaging 19 of 20
    19. Walmart and Amazon Lobby for Rage-free Packaging
    In December, retailing giants Walmart and Amazon advocated for toymakers to produce packaging that doesn't require screwdrivers, wire clippers, blowtorches, and possibly an engineering degree to remove. Still hoping they come up with rage-free parking lots.
    Photo Credit: Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • 20. Most (But Not All) Military Parents Were Home from Iraq for Christmas 20 of 20
    20. Most (But Not All) Military Parents Were Home from Iraq for Christmas
    Although approximately 4,000 U.S. soldiers were re-stationed from Iraq to Kuwait, many military moms and dads were reunited with their kids in time for Christmas. Videos of moms and dads bursting out of giant, festively-wrapped boxes, and surprising their kids in school or on dance stages, went viral across a grateful nation.
    Photo Credit: Jack Nelson

Oh, and one more thing? Here’s our favorite caught-on-video parenting moment of 2011. While most of the videos of soldiers coming home involved school assemblies, big family parties, or mall Santas, this one is a little simpler. The five-year-old boy in the video has autism, so those big crowds wouldn’t work for him. His parents set up the gentlest reunion ever, in the hall of his school. Coming from a child with a disorder characterized by communication challenges, the big “Hey, Dad! I missed you” is that much more awesome.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flzcp10Crlg[/youtube]

What was your best parenting moment of 2011?

Read more from Joslyn at her blog stark. raving. mad. mommy. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for even more funny.

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