Parents will do almost anything for their children. They will take an extra shift or, if they’re tech-savvy, defend their kids on social media. Dad-of-five Fred Vautour set the ultimate standard, working 23 years as a graveyard shift janitor at Boston College to send his kids to school.
“I came from a poor family and kind of a broken home and I was kind of on my own,” Fred Vautour explained. “I did my best to be a father and a family man.”
Boston College, which provides benefits for its staff, granted all five of Vautour’s children a place in the school. While Vautour was able to save $700,000 in tuition, his greatest pride was watching each of them graduate.
“I want to be remembered as the grandkids knowing that their grandfather did a lot for my own,” he said. “And my kids are learning from that and they seem to be doing well with their kids, too, so it’s a trickle-down effect.”
Vautour has expressed his gratitude and still works at the university, however bittersweet. The hardworking dad has proved that status isn’t everything. Sometimes, being a good parent is enough.
Many innovators have focused on helping children have fun living their lives and/or helping parents have a little ease in raising their children. A high-tech clothing line is producing wearable stuff that adjusts and grows along with the kids. A startup has created emotion-tracking smart glasses that can improve the social skills of autistic children. The latest to contribute is a mom doctor who developed an app that addresses a few problems in the parenting experience of deaf parents.
As parents spend time around infants, they start to learn the difference between when a baby is crying from pain, rather than fussiness. Deaf parents, on the other hand, have no way of understanding whether their baby’s cries mean something more serious.
That’s why Dr. Ariana Anderson at the UCLA Medical Center and Semel Institute developed the Chatterbaby app.
Anderson, herself a mother of four, discovered that she had been continuously learning how to interpret what her babies’ crying means over her years of motherhood. When she realized that deaf parents needed more assistance in this area, she thought of creating an app that could guide the deaf community.
By compiling a database of over 2,000 baby cries, Anderson’s app can interpret a baby’s needs with 90% accuracy. For instance, if there are long periods of silence between cries, it usually means that the baby is just finicky. But if the infant is uttering long, sustained, high-pitched wails, it means that the baby is in pain.
The app is still going through further development, but those who tested it have already given positive feedback. Deaf parents who participated in the test run stated that the service is indeed an important innovation.
Of course, every future parent would have a different parenting experience. However, innovations like this could surely bring a little convenience to the great challenge.
It’s 2018 and we all know heroes don’t always wear capes. In fact, they also vary in age. You can be a budding 8-year-old lifeguard or a middle-aged charitable millionaire. Whatever the case, not one hero is like another. This retired grandpa is a champion to NICU babies — he cradles them for a living.
“There are a lot of benefits to that warm connection of being held—when a baby puts their face against your heartbeat, there’s a benefit there. I came to love it, but not just because of the connection with the babies, but the whole atmosphere of the hospital.” [said grandpa David Deutchman.]
Deutchman volunteers at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and has been doing so for 12 years. Prior to baby-cuddling, his official job title was in international business marketing. Now, the father of two is a dad to hundreds, if only for a day or so.
“I talk with mothers and sometimes I hold their hand, because holding a mom’s hand is just as important as holding a baby,” he says. “There’s a lot of stress for these parents. Having somebody tell them they can go get breakfast and assure them I’ll be there with their baby, it means something to them. It’s important.”
While NICU babies can be fussy, a bit of spit-up does little to faze Deutchman. I sure do wish he was my grandpa.
Every parent knows the difficulty of shopping for a child’s ever-changing wardrobe. Jeans make for an awkward fit. Shirts are loose on the bottom but tight on the arms. Shoes? Don’t get any parent started on shoes. But it seems brand Petit Pli has some tricks up their sleeve. This adjustable clothing line produces clothes that grow along with kids.
Petit Pli’s pleats allow the clothing to stretch as children go through their growth spurts. No matter the size, the pleated fabric will fit the child perfectly.
The structure deforms with the movement of the child, expanding and contracting in synchrony with their motion.
High-tech clothing? I hardly thought it was possible. The genius behind Petit Pli is Ryan Mario Yasin, a specialist in aeronautical engineering. While he could’ve gone all-out on a more advanced solution, Ryan chose to keep the line simple and easily marketable.
Yasin’s aim is to save time and money for parents, but to also reduce the amount of kids’ clothing that’s thrown away each year. Petit Pli’s design is more efficient and gives kids the flexibility to move and run, and the cutting-edge fabrics are simple to clean and fold.
While a child sporting a single outfit for years may fuss some picky parents, Petit Pli is undeniably doing us some big favors. If you can’t choose style, at least choose sustainability!