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Laughing Babies

From Wikipedia:

“Caregivers of an infant are advised to pick up on the infant’s facial expressions and mirror them. Reproducing and empathizing with their facial expressions enables infants to experience effectiveness and to recognize their own actions more easily (see mirror neurons). Exaggeratedly reproduced facial expressions and gestures are recommended, as they are clearer forms of expression. The baby’s babbling should also be picked up and repeated. By imitating each other’s sounds the first simple dialogues are initiated. Accentuated pronunciation and melodic intonation make it easier to recognize individual words in a sentence. However, it is not advisable to use simplified “baby talk” (e.g. “Did you ‘ouch’?” instead of, “Did you hurt yourself?”).

“Even if parents cannot yet understand infants’ babbling, a timely response by parents to babbling leads to faster language acquisition. This was confirmed by researchers who first studied mothers’ behavior towards 8-month-old infants and later tested the infants’ vocabulary when they were 15 months old. A first important development of infants is the discovery that they can influence their parents through babbling (development of intentional communication). Parents can encourage this by engaging with their infants in babbling. This in turn promotes further language development, as infants then turn to their parents more often.

“Previous studies have shown that the infant’s speech is encouraged when parents, for example, smile in the infant’s direction or touch the infant every time the infant looks at them and babbles. It also helps if parents respond to what they think their baby is saying (for example, giving a ball or commenting when the baby looks at the ball and babbles). Responding to sounds produced when the baby looks at an object (object-directed vocalizations) thus provide an opportunity to learn the name of the object. In this way, babies also learn that sounds are associated with objects. However, language development is only achieved if parents react positively (e.g. smile) in response to the infant’s babbling. A high response rate without a connection to the infant’s utterances does not lead to language promotion. It is detrimental to language development if a mother instead tries to divert the infant’s attention to something else.”

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The World’s Best Teacher

This teacher is Ron Clark. He was born in 1972 in Chocowinity, North Carolina where he was asked to fill in for an elementary school teacher who had passed away. Becoming an educator was not his original plan. Once he got a taste of changing kids’ lives, he decided that teaching in Harlem, New York might be a great challenge where his burgeoning skill might be more useful. He has since moved on to start his own academy in Atlanta, Georgia where he teachers children, but also teaches teachers on better techniques of educating. He has trained 108,000 teachers as of today (February 10, 2024). He has also become a television personality and has authored four books, at least one of which has reached the New York Times Bestseller list.

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Mothers

Motherhood physically changes a woman’s brain. Studies have shown that certain areas of the brain undergo structural changes during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Mothers have a heightened sense of smell. Pregnancy hormones can increase a woman’s ability to detect and identify different scents.

The longest recorded duration for a woman to be pregnant is 375 days (over a year!). This occurred in 1945.

The record for the most children born to one mother is 69. A woman named Valentina Vassilyeva, who lived in 18th-century Russia, gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets.

In some species, mothers are capable of reproducing asexually through a process called parthenogenesis, where offspring are produced without fertilization.

Mothers produce breast milk that is perfectly tailored to their baby’s nutritional needs. The composition of breast milk changes as the baby grows.

Some mothers have been known to breast-feed their children up to seven years old.

The world’s oldest known mother to give birth naturally was a woman named Omkari Panwar. She was 70 years old when she gave birth to twins in 2008.

The term “maternity leave” was first introduced in the United States in 1919.

Research suggests that children tend to inherit their intelligence from their mothers.

Motherhood can increase a woman’s lifespan. Several studies have shown that mothers tend to live longer than women without children.

The average age of first-time mothers is increasing in many countries. In the United States, for example, it reached a record high of 26.3 years in 2016.

In some cultures, a mother’s intuition is highly valued and considered a powerful tool for decision-making.

Mothers have been shown to have a significant impact on their children’s language development. They often play a crucial role in teaching children to speak and communicate effectively.

Motherhood can improve a woman’s multitasking skills. Juggling various tasks and responsibilities becomes a regular part of a mother’s life.

It has been noticed that women are generally better at multitasking, and men are better at focus. The reason is likely to date back to when women had to spread their attention over several children at once to keep them all safe. Meanwhile the man had to bag that antelope no matter what if his family was going to eat. He couldn’t pay attention anything else.

For the same reason, women are also more empathetic while men may be more impervious to pain. The mother had to understand and figure out what was wrong when her pre-verbal children were hurting. The man couldn’t stop hunting just because he scratched his way past a sticker bush.

A phenomenon known as “phantom kicking” can occur in some women after they have given birth. They may feel the sensation of their baby moving, even when they are no longer pregnant.

Motherhood can change a woman’s immune system. During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is naturally suppressed to prevent it from attacking the developing fetus.

According to a study, a mother’s voice can have a soothing effect on her child. Hearing their mother’s voice activates areas of the brain associated with pleasure and emotional connection.

The world’s youngest documented mother was only 5 years old when she gave birth. Lina Medina from Peru delivered a healthy baby boy in 1939.

In many animal species, mothers exhibit strong protective instincts towards their young, often risking their own lives to ensure their offspring’s survival.

The average mother changes around 7,300 diapers by the time her child is two and a half years old.

In some cultures, mothers are believed to possess healing powers and are sought after for their ability to cure illnesses or provide comfort.

A mother’s love releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and feelings of affection.

Motherhood can lead to changes in a woman’s metabolism. Some studies suggest that pregnancy can alter a woman’s metabolism and increase the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease later in life.

The phrase “working mother” was first used in the late 19th century to describe women who engaged in paid employment while also raising their children.

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Fathers

The celebration of Father’s Day dates back to 1910 in the United States and is now celebrated in many countries worldwide.

The average age of first-time fathers is increasing. In the United States, it was around 27.4 years old in 2020.

According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives is associated with positive developmental outcomes, including improved cognitive development and higher academic achievement.

The world’s oldest known father was Nanu Ram Jogi, an Indian farmer who fathered his 21st child at the age of 90.

Fathers often experience hormonal changes after becoming dads. Testosterone levels decrease, while oxytocin and prolactin levels increase, promoting nurturing and bonding behaviors.

It has been noticed that men are generally better at focus and women are better at multitasking. The reason is likely to date back to when women had to spread their attention over several children at once to keep them all safe. Meanwhile the man had to bag that antelope no matter what if his family was going to eat. He couldn’t pay attention anything else.

For the same reason, women are also more empathetic while men may be more impervious to pain. The mother had to understand and figure out what was wrong when her pre-verbal children were hurting. The man couldn’t stop hunting just because he scratched his way past a sticker bush.

The average father spends about 7 hours per week on child care activities, compared to 10 hours per week for mothers, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

Studies have shown that involved fathers can have a positive impact on their children’s emotional well-being and mental health.

The term “dad bod” was popularized in 2015, referring to a more relaxed and less muscular physique often associated with fathers.

“Mister Mom:” The United States has the highest number of stay-at-home dads in the world, with around 2 million fathers choosing to be the primary caregivers for their children.

Sperm banks have specific requirements for donors, including factors such as height, weight, education, and physical health.

In many species, including seahorses and some birds, fathers are responsible for incubating eggs and caring for the offspring.

A father’s age at the time of conception can impact a child’s health. Older fathers have a higher risk of passing on genetic mutations and may increase the chances of certain health conditions in their children.

In a study published in the journal “Developmental Psychology,” it was found that fathers who are actively involved in their children’s lives tend to have kids with higher IQs and better linguistic and cognitive abilities.

In some indigenous cultures, fathers may play a significant role in naming their children, often choosing names with special meanings or connections to their heritage.

A study published in the journal “Pediatrics” found that children who have a close relationship with their fathers are less likely to experience behavioral problems and are more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior.

The world record for the most children fathered by a single man is believed to be held by a Moroccan emperor, Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty, who is said to have had 888 children.

In the animal kingdom, male seahorses give birth to their offspring. They carry fertilized eggs in a special pouch until they hatch.

According to a study published in the “Journal of Marriage and Family,” fathers who actively participate in household chores tend to have daughters who aspire to higher-paying careers traditionally dominated by men.

A study published in the journal “Nature Neuroscience” found that fathers’ brains undergo changes, including increased activity in areas associated with empathy and caregiving, when they become parents.

The concept of paternity leave is becoming more prevalent globally. Countries like Sweden, Norway, and Iceland offer generous paid paternity leave to fathers.

According to a study published in the journal “Pediatrics,” children who have involved fathers are have greater self-esteem and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as drug use and delinquency.

The “World’s Greatest Dad” trophy was created by the American Trophy Company in 1954 and has since become a popular gift for Father’s Day.

A father’s voice has a unique impact on children. Studies show that babies can recognize and prefer their father’s voice within days of birth.

In 2016, a study published in the journal “Psychology of Men & Masculinity” found that fathers who play an active role in caregiving experience higher levels of happiness and satisfaction with their lives.

In some cultures, such as in parts of India and Africa, fatherhood is celebrated with specific rituals and ceremonies, such as baby-naming ceremonies or initiation rites.

According to a study published in the “Journal of Marriage and Family,” fathers who are actively involved in their children’s lives have healthier relationships with their partners.

Single fathers are a growing demographic. In the United States, the number of single fathers has increased from 300,000 in 1960 to over 2 million in 2020.

In the animal kingdom, male emperor penguins incubate the eggs and care for the chicks while the females go out to sea to hunt for food.

According to a study published in the journal “Evolution and Human Behavior,” expectant fathers experience hormonal changes, including increased levels of prolactin, a hormone associated with nurturing behavior.

The world’s shortest known father is Chandra Bahadur Dangi from Nepal, who stood at a height of 54.6 centimeters (21.5 inches). That’s shorter than an average 2-year-old.

The tradition of giving Father’s Day gifts, such as ties or tools, originated from the desire to promote gender equity and encourage men to embrace their nurturing side.

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Candy

The world’s oldest known candy is a honey-based treat from over 2,000 years ago.

The word “candy” comes from the Arabic word “qandi,” which means “made of sugar.”

The first form of candy was created by ancient Egyptians over 4,000 years ago.

The first mass-produced candy in the United States was the candy corn, created in the 1880s.

The largest candy store in the world is Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City, spanning over 15,000 square feet (1,393 square meters, or a third of an acre).


Dylan's Candy Bar, New York City, world's largest candy bar

Dylan’s Candy Bar

The average American consumes about 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of candy each year.

The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 12,770 pounds (5,792 kilograms) and was made in Armenia in 2010.

The first chocolate bar was invented in 1847 by Joseph Fry.

M&M’s were originally created for soldiers in World War II since they could carry them without the chocolate melting.

The world’s most expensive chocolate bar is the “Amedei Porcelana,” which can cost up to $90 per bar.

The largest lollipop ever made weighed over 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms).

The largest candy cane ever made was 51 feet (15.5 meters) tall.

The Snickers candy bar was named after the Mars family’s favorite horse.

Cotton candy was invented by a dentist named William Morrison.

The world’s longest gum wrapper chain measured over 62 miles (100 kilometers).

The Tootsie Roll was named after its creator’s daughter’s nickname, “Tootsie.”

The chocolate-covered insect industry exists, with companies producing candies like chocolate-covered ants and scorpions.

There are more than 400 different flavors of Kit Kat in Japan, including unique options like wasabi and green tea.

The first candy bar to be taken to space was a Milky Way bar in 1982.

Hershey’s Kisses got their name from the machine that produces them, which makes a “kissing” sound.

The world’s largest candy necklace was made in Canada and measured over 1,000 feet (304 meters) long.

The popular candy Pez was originally marketed as an alternative to smoking.

Candy canes were originally straight, and the curved shape is said to represent a shepherd’s crook.

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Human Babies

Babies have more bones than adults. They are born with about 300 bones, while adults have 206 due to the fusion of some bones as they grow.

A baby’s taste buds are more sensitive than those of adults. They can taste a wider range of flavors, which may explain why they can be picky eaters.

Newborn babies can recognize their mother’s voice from birth. They are also able to recognize familiar sounds they heard while in the womb.

Babies have a strong sense of smell. They can differentiate between their mother’s breast milk and that of another woman.

On average, a baby will triple its birth weight within the first year of life.

Newborn babies are nearsighted and can see objects clearly only at a close distance. They can see best at a distance of 8-12 inches, which is roughly the distance between their face and their mother’s while breastfeeding.

Babies don’t have kneecaps at birth. Instead, they have soft cartilage that eventually hardens into kneecaps as they grow.

The brain of a baby doubles in size during the first year of life.

Babies have a natural instinct for swimming and can hold their breath automatically underwater until about six months old.

A newborn baby can cry as soon as they are born. This helps clear their lungs and open up their airways.

Babies have a strong grip reflex. They can hold onto an object placed in their hand and can even support their body weight for a short time.

Babies have a unique grasping reflex known as the “palmar reflex,” where they instinctively hold onto objects that touch their palms.

Babies have more taste buds on their tongues than adults. They have around 10,000 taste buds compared to adults’ 2,000-4,000.

A baby’s head is proportionally larger compared to the rest of their body compared to adults. This is because the brain develops rapidly during the early years.

Babies are born with the ability to mimic facial expressions. They often imitate the expressions they see their parents making.

A baby’s heart beats faster than an adult’s. The average heart rate for a newborn is around 120-160 beats per minute.

Babies have a higher body surface area-to-weight ratio than adults, which makes them more susceptible to changes in temperature.

Newborn babies have more bones in their skull than adults. This allows for flexibility during birth and helps the skull to mold and pass through the birth canal.

Babies have a stronger sense of hearing than adults. They can hear higher frequencies and are more sensitive to sounds in general.

Babies are born with a natural instinct to suck. This reflex helps them to feed and find comfort.

A baby’s first social smile typically appears between 6-8 weeks of age. This is when they start to recognize and respond to their caregivers.

Newborn babies have a heightened sense of touch. They can feel pain, temperature, and pressure more intensely than adults.

Babies have more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than adults. This is thought to contribute to their brain development.

A newborn baby has no control over their saliva and may drool frequently.

Babies have a natural preference for human faces and will often gaze longer at faces compared to other objects.

A baby’s immune system is not fully developed at birth. They receive antibodies from their mother through breast milk, which helps protect them against infections.

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Teenagers

The teenage brain is more susceptible to addiction because of the underdeveloped prefrontal cortex.

Teens require more sleep than adults, but their natural sleep cycle causes them to stay up later and wake up later.

Teenagers are more likely to take risks due to their developing brain and desire for social approval.

Teenagers are more likely to engage in “drama” or conflict due to their heightened emotional sensitivity.

The teenage years are a time when individuals begin to question their identity and develop their sense of self.

The teenage years are when most mental health disorders first appear.

The frontal cortex, which controls decision-making and impulse control, is not fully developed until the mid-20s.

Teenagers are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors when they are in groups rather than alone.

The teenage years are a time when individuals begin to develop romantic and sexual relationships.

The teenage brain is more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and drugs.

Teenagers often experience a sense of invincibility and believe that negative consequences will not happen to them.

The teenage years are a time when individuals begin to develop their own values and beliefs.

The teenage years are a time when individuals begin to explore their sexuality and sexual orientation.

The teenage years are a time when individuals begin to develop empathy and emotional intelligence.

The teenage years are a time when individuals begin to think about their future and career goals.

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Adolescents

The adolescent stage of human development generally refers to the period of life between childhood and adulthood, and is characterized by significant physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. Depending on which expert you ask, the age range can be from 10 years old to mid-twenties, but is generally age 12 to 15.

As a result of improvements in nutrition and healthcare, people reach puberty earlier and live longer than in past eras.

Girls generally go through a growth spurt sooner than boys. So a sister that has always been shorter than her older brother may be taller and stronger for a year or so, until he finally grows into his adult-size body.

Adolescents often experience “sleep drunkenness,” which is a state of grogginess and confusion that occurs when they are woken up abruptly.

Adolescents are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like drug use, drinking, and unprotected sex, as they test the limits of their newfound independence.

The adolescent brain goes through a pruning process where it eliminates unused neural connections.

The teenage years are a time when individuals begin to develop a sense of humor and enjoy joking around with friends.

Adolescents are more likely to engage in “self-talk,” or talking to themselves, as a way to process their thoughts and emotions.

Adolescents often experience a heightened sense of self-consciousness and may feel like they are constantly being judged by others.

Adolescent boys are more likely to experience body dysmorphia and muscle dysmorphia due to societal pressure to be muscular and fit. For some boys, penis size becomes a concern.

The adolescent brain is more susceptible to addiction because of the underdeveloped prefrontal cortex.

Adolescents require more sleep than adults, but their natural sleep cycle causes them to stay up later and wake up later.

During puberty, the body undergoes rapid growth and hormonal changes, leading to increased hunger and appetite.

Adolescents have a greater tendency to conform to peer pressure and follow trends.

Adolescent girls are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than boys.

Adolescent girls are also more likely to experience body image issues and eating disorders.

Adolescents have a more heightened sense of social justice and fairness.

The adolescent brain is more sensitive to stress, which can have a long-term impact on mental health.

The adolescent brain is more responsive to rewards, which can lead to addictive behaviors.

Adolescents are more likely to experience mood swings and emotional turbulence.

Adolescents often experience conflicts with authority figures such as parents and teachers.

Adolescents are more likely to engage in binge drinking and drug use.

Adolescents often experience a sense of alienation and feel like they don’t fit in.

The teenage years are a time when individuals start to form close friendships and experience loyalty and betrayal.

Adolescents often experience a sense of nostalgia for their childhood, as they begin to realize that they are no longer children.

The adolescent brain is more susceptible to the effects of peer pressure due to increased activity in the amygdala, which processes social information.

The adolescent stage is also a time when individuals begin to explore their spirituality and religious beliefs.

The adolescent stage is a time when individuals begin to develop their own moral code and ethical beliefs.

Adolescents are more likely to experience “fear of missing out” (FOMO) and anxiety related to social media use.

The adolescent stage is often marked by an increased interest in social justice and political activism.