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When I picked my son up from his first day of 4th grade, my usual (enthusiastically delivered) question of “how was your day?" was met with his usual (indifferently delivered) “fine."

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Come on! It's the first day, for crying out loud! Give me something to work with, would you, kid?

The second day, my same question was answered, “well, no one was a jerk."

That's good... I guess.

I suppose the problem is my own. That question doesn't really do much for our kids. Far from a conversation starter, it's uninspired, overwhelmingly open ended and frankly, completely boring.

So as an alternative, I've compiled a list of questions that my kid will answer with more than a single word or grunt. In fact, he debated his response to question eight for at least half an hour over the weekend.

Questions a kid will answer at the end of a long school day:

  1. What did you eat for lunch?
  2. Did you catch anyone doing something funny?
  3. Boutique Dress winter winter winter Boutique Cocktail Dress Cocktail Boutique Cache Cache What games did you play at recess?
  4. What was the funniest thing that happened today?
  5. Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
  6. What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
  7. Who made you smile today?
  8. Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
  9. What new fact did you learn today?
  10. Who brought the best food in their lunch today? What was it?
  11. What challenged you today?
  12. If school were a ride at the fair, which ride would it be? Why?
  13. What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
  14. If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?
  15. If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
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  17. Did anyone push your buttons today?
  18. Who do you want to make friends with but haven't yet? Why not?
  19. What is your teacher's most important rule?
  20. What is the most popular thing to do at recess?
  21. Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?
  22. Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
  23. What was your favorite subject to study today? Why?
  24. What is one thing you did today that was helpful?
  25. When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
  26. What rule was the hardest to follow today?
  27. What is one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?
  28. Which person in your class is your exact opposite?
  29. Which area of your school is the most fun?
  30. Which playground skill do you plan to master this year?
  31. Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?

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Chances are, you've heard about the RoombaCasual Boutique winter winter VS Dress Boutique VS Casual Yfrxqdf—the robotic vacuum that does the dirty work for you. For many mamas, this device has changed the game for household cleaning, taking over the often-dreaded (and seemingly never-ending) vacuuming that needs to be done.

Well, it just got even better.

iRobot just announced some upgrades to this hands-free cleaning device and they're pretty game-changing. Here's everything to know:

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iRobot

The iRobot Roomba i7+ now has Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal that empties the bin when it returns to the Clean Base. This means one less step for you, mama, and not having to worry about dust and dirt flying into the air when you empty the vacuum. It holds up to 30 bags so you don't have to worry about swapping them out frequently.

2. Remembers your home's floor plan

The device can remember up to 10 different floor plans and uses Imprint Smart Mapping that gets to know the layout of your home. So, instead of vacuuming in the same motion for every home, it learns how to efficiently navigate the rooms in your house based on where it's located.

Plus, the latest model now lets users clean specific rooms that you get to name in the app—something that wasn't possible before. If you've ever had to scurry to pick up legos from the kids rooms before the Roomba eats them, you don't have to worry about that anymore. Simply click on specific rooms and avoid those that don't need a cleaning.

3. Easily connects to Amazon Alexa + Google Assistant

"Alexa, please clean the living room," is now a reality with this new Roomba model. We love that you can use the app to schedule cleanings too.

Household work is one of those tasks that will always be on our to-do list, but we're all for products that help simplify the mess for us.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

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"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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[Content warning: This article references the unexpected death of a child.]

Lenore Alexander is a mom on a mission to save lives, and save mothers from going through what she has.

She's calling for lawmakers to make continuous postoperative monitoring mandatory after children have surgery, because she says that is what could have saved her daughter's life.

In 2002 Alexander brought her 11-year-old daughter Leah to the hospital for an elective surgery to correct a condition known as pectus carinatum, or pigeon chest.

"Every day she would get up and put on a t-shirt and be uncomfortable," Alexander recalls in a video by the Patient Safety Movement.


Doctors told Alexander surgery could correct the condition, which sees the sternum bulge out of the chest. While not life-threatening, some doctors suggest parents seek surgery for the condition in an effort to boost a child's self-esteem or help them be more active.

Alexander's daughter went in for surgery to correct her pectus carinatum on a Friday. After the operation, Leah was in a great deal of pain, according to Alexander, despite still having epidural anesthesia.

Leah, who weighed about 80 pounds, was given increasing amounts of fentanyl, a powerful opiate, her mother recalls.

"Each time I voiced my concerns, asking that the anesthesiologist responsible for her pain management be contacted, I was given the same response: She will be up and walking tomorrow," Alexander writes on her website, Leah's Legacy.

When Leah's parents refused to allow any more fentanyl, Leah was given Ativan for anxiety.

Sometime after midnight, Alexander, exhausted as any mother would be, fell asleep. When she woke up, she learned Leah had been found dead in bed. She wondered why no alarms went off when Leah was deteriorating, and why her child wasn't being monitored by medical staff.

Alexander says a series of medical mistakes led to Leah's death. It turned out the epidural was misplaced, and that's why Leah was still feeling so much pain. It was the pain that led her medical providers to give her fentanyl, and then Ativan, but inexpensive electronic monitoring technology could have sounded the alarm when Leah stopped breathing.

The death of an 11-year-old is an absolute tragedy, but so too is the fact that nearly 20 years after Leah stopped breathing, there still is no law requiring continuous postoperative electronic monitoring, even in cases where pediatric patients are on powerful painkillers like opioids.

The opioid crisis America is facing is complex and multifaceted, but as the congressional effort to stop overdoses moves forward, it should be noted that not all deaths are related to opioid misuse. Some deaths can be prevented by something very simple: Continuous electronic postoperative monitoring.

Alexander's message for fellow mothers is simple: "If you're in a hospital, demand a monitor."

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There's something about fall that makes me want to sit and re-organize everything in my home. Maybe it's because I know the holidays are right around the corner (🙈) or maybe it's because back-to-school time just brings with it a craving for structure and routine.

Either way, I want to lean in and seize the motivation before I lose it or before the next season of This is Us begins—whichever comes first. 😂 Luckily, Pinterest has a ton of organization inspiration.

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We spoke to Pinterest about their most-pinned kid-friendly organization ideas, and here's what they shared:

1. A DIY snack station 

www.pinterest.com

Created by 100things2do

Packing lunch or getting an after-school snack just got a whole lot easier...

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