At my son’s second birthday party, I couldn’t get over how different he and his friends were from the year before. At the first party, they’d gamely batted around a few balloons. This time, they jumped up and down on tables, hugged and kissed each other, ran through streamers – and that was before the cake.
Babble‘s also two, and we’re similarly hyper. The magazine has been doing well – sort of freakishly well. Our readership is now more than 1.2 million a month. People keep giving us awards, like the Folio Silver Medal for Best Online Magazine (Time.com beat us, but Newsweek.com came in third!), and an ASME Nomination (opposite Slate and The New Yorker) for Overall Excellence Online.
The editorial staff is the same – just me and Gwynne and April. Our lead designer is still the gifted Mandalee. Lauren, our intrepid photo intern, was promoted to photo editor. Oh, and we just got our very own editorial intern. (Hi, Lindsay!) Gwynne had her baby, Anselm, who is very cheerful and obsessed with Prince. April’s second baby is due in March. Our publishers added a new baby to their family, too. There’s ever more competition for the fun stuff on our giveaway table.
In the last year, we’ve run fifty “Bad Parent” columns, forty or so reported dispatches, a good dozen fancy celebrity interviews, sixty or so Babble Bests, and thousands of blog posts (less than half of which were about Sarah Palin, we swear). We launched the new Babble Playground community, Kids Say the Cutest Things, The Babble Baby Namer, and what feels like a million other interactive features and gadgets for you (and us) to play with.
In the works we have a bunch of new features, tons more health and development pages, loads more products coverage, a few new blogs, and, of course, six great new articles a week for the foreseeable future. Your editors are a little OCD, so we have the next couple of months all mapped out already and ooh, will you have some things to comment on!
We started Babble because we wanted to read about parenting and nothing out there was speaking to us. We’re really proud of everything we’ve published this year, and hope you’ll take a spin through the archives and catch up on whatever you’ve missed. Here are some of our in-house 2008 favorites.
Most obscenely cute couple: Kori and Jason of the amazing indie band Mates of State, who blog for us as Band on the Diaper Run. What other bands do you know whose tour rider includes “baby food and “surprise for a four-year-old”?
Most timely essay: Madeline Holler’s incredible “My Illegal Homebirth: Giving birth at home was weird, magical – and a felony” ran the same day that Missouri repealed its law banning home birth in that state.
The best way to kill a few hours on a rainy day: Gwynne’s exhaustive list of the best Sesame Street scenes of all time – with video!
Tear-jerking-est: “Lost in Translation,” Kevin Keck’s heart-breaking meditation on the generation gap.
Article we were proudest of having pulled off: Our recent “Economy Issue‘s “Scenes from a Recession” had Brett Berk finding representative families in three parts of the country and our photo editor Lauren tracking down photographers in Georgia, Connecticut and Nebraska, to bring you this snapshot of how families at different income levels are adjusting to the economic downturn.
Baddest Bad Parent: Frequent contributor (and now Strollerderby blogger) Jeanne Sager wins for her three – count ’em three – 2008 “Bad Parent” essays: “Weight Watcher: Am I passing my eating disorder on to my daughter?” “A Private Matter: Sorry, sexperts, at my house it’s a ‘cha-cha.’;” and “Screen Queen: My daughter watches up to six hours of TV a day.”
Most provocative Bad Parent: Joanne Rendell’s “Unschooling: Why my kid won’t attend school this fall, or maybe ever,” from our Back to School Issue, earned more than 250 comments and a New York Times feature.
Most unlikely contributor: Tori Spelling’s mom Candy wrote for us about her daughter (and Joan Crawford) in the elegant “Revenge of the Kids: Why I pity Joan Crawford.”
Most hilarious new column: Brett and Lauren are going to keep asking kids for advice on money, career, and romance in our new “Advice from Kids” series.
Most enviable living space: The London edition of our How We Live column made us all want to move to the U.K.
Extra-popular service pieces: Our reporters helped us learn the right and wrong way to lie to our kids, how to raise a kid who’s not neurotic about gender, how No Child Left Behind is affecting our schools, and why our generation has to get smarter about money. For lots more smart investigations into the hot-button issues of the day, check out our Dispatches archive.
We hope you’ll stay with Babble as the site – like your kids and ours – continues to grow up. And please let us know in feedback what you liked this year, or what you’d like to see less or more of. Like any toddler, we need your wise guidance!