Where did that skill come from?

Like a lot of parents, I often think about the nature/nurture influences on my son. In addition to his daddy's captivating eyes will he inherit a love of playing music, too? My little guy has already showed some proficiency at telling stories like his Mom, but will that skill continue as he grows older?

And what about these traits that don't seem to come from my husband or me? The sudden bursts of athleticism? Where did those come from?

Turns out, nobody knows for certain.

Researchers have studied the kinds of talent that span several generations for years to determine if creativity is really something that is handed down. This research often sparks the old debate: Is creativity linked to our genes and a hereditary trait or is it the result of the environment that we are exposed to?

It's intriguing to see researchers create tests to support their theories. The latest one in the link above deals around creative writing and finds that families tend to have similarly minded creative links - even among spouses. So, that would support the nurture theory more than the nature one.

But I like that it's not a clear cut science. It is fun to think that my son still has all this amazing potential locked away inside him and that at any moment he could surprise us with some hidden skill or secret knowledge.

What special talent do you have that is not in common with your family members? Tell me in the comments.

Hey, Dads: Is this really worth arguing over?

My husband and I were friends for years before we became a couple. All those years of friendship added up to lots of funny stories about mutual friends and was a great way to determine how compatible we are. Since the time of our transition from buddies to spouses, we've had relatively few arguments. Sure there are areas where we don't always see eye-to-eye, but overall, we are on the same page.

We knew that being a united team was important before having our son. I had no idea how significant it would become for his relationship with our child.

Lots of parents either avoid fighting in front of their children, or they will let their children hear them fight "fairly" using non-blaming language. (Or so I hear...I've never seen this successfully used in a real world scenario - just on TV shows and in movies.)

But when parents do fight, there is negative spillover for their children. And, as it turns out, these negative feelings strain a child's relationship with their father much longer than it will with their mother.

A study had moms and dad keep separate diaries of their lives for several weeks. When analyzed, they found that the father's relationship with his children after an argument with mom were more adversely affected for days afterward. Moms, on the other hand, were able to deflect the negative fallout much faster. The researchers who conducted the study believe that moms are better equipped to compensate for any marital tension than dads are.

Now, I am not saying that spouses shouldn't argue, because that is unhealthy and sometimes you need to air your feelings, but maybe we should be asking this question first: Is this worth arguing about?

I'm thinking that in most cases, the answer will probably be, "No," and everyone can go about their day a little happier.

Money, sex and housework are three of the top subjects couples argue over. What is one of the more ridiculous things you've argued with your spouse over? Tell me in the comments.

YourBaby'sName.com

There were a lot of considerations that went into trying to find the right name for our son. We wanted something unique, but not crazy. Something that was meaningful to us, but wouldn't set him up for a lifetime of trying to explain his name to others.

And since then, I've learned lots of interesting things about how others perceive us by our names. And there are some pretty cool tools out there to help parents pinpoint naming trends.

One thing I didn't see coming was the ability to choose a child's name based off its domain availability. Yup, that's a thing now.

You can use the handy tool to type in the names you are thinking of (first and last) and see if the domain is available. And, of course, you can purchase the domain if it isn't taken.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. Sure, I've heard of parents getting domains and setting up social media accounts for their children, so maybe this is just one more gift that you could snag before the baby is born. (But what if you want the sex to be a surprise? Should you just snap up both names you are thinking of?)

My son is one-of-a-kind in every way - including his name. But I don't think I'll be buying his domain for him anytime soon. I'll let him make that decision for himself when he gets older.

What about you? Any interest in getting a domain name certificate before you get the birth certificate? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

Dinner for one: Eating by yourself

I know several moms who have multiple children with active schedules. Those Moms spend their evenings and weekends chauffeuring their children to various sports activities, musical activities and dance lessons. I'm always amazed by that (think of the planning and coordination that takes), and I usually have one question for them: Where do you find the time for dinner?

This is usually followed by a sigh or a slight shake of the head and an admission that it is a struggle. I've heard stories of multiple dinners, protein-filled snacks and dinner-on-the-go. There is not a simple answer.

Turns out, meals are a struggle for a lot of families. A recent study by the NPD Group report indicates that only 50 percent of families with kids eat dinner together 5 nights a week. (I sincerely hope that the rest of those families aren't stuck in a car driving between activities.)

The same study also has some interesting stats around solo dining: More than 50 percent of meals by everyone included in the study are taking place on a solo basis.

Why are we eating alone? Several reasons:
  • About 27 percent of households now consist of a single person.
  • Breakfast is squeezed into various morning routines, so people come and go from the table.
  • Lunch is based on quick and easy options.
I don't have much control of meals during the work week, although we do eat dinner together as a family almost every night. But weekends are another matter. My husband, who is a bit of a bear, usually doesn't join my son and I for breakfast. And I try to make sure we are all having at least one lunch together during the weekend. A lot of times chores just get in the way.

I like eating meals with my son. Mostly because we can bond over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and he tells me amazing stories and crazy ideas. It's time for him to sit still and for him to have my complete attention. I don't want to lose that.

It's time to take back our meals.

What runaway meal do you want to take back control of? Tell me in the comments.