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I have strung words together for The New York Times, Vice, and more. I write and shoot people (with a camera, you guys) from my home in upst...

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Donald FergusonThe murder of a 7-year-old in 1990 that has haunted a North Carolina community for 24 years has finally been solved. The body of Shalonda Poole was found in the woods behind her elementary school in July 1990, sexually assaulted and strangled. Her family never gave up hope ... and this week a family friend who "helped" them look for their missing daughter has been arrested!

    The main suspect back in 1990 was a mentally disabled cafeteria worker, but he was found not guilty two years later. Fast forward two decades, and police say advancement in forensics helped them nail Donald Preston Ferguson, now 52, for the murder and assault of the little girl all those years ago.

    If they got the right guy, he sounds like a real creep. This is a guy who Shalonda's parents say was actually sitting at their kitchen table, playing cards with the family, just DAYS before the murder of their 7-year-old. Ferguson even helped the family look for their daughter before she was found!

    I don't know about you, but I just breathed a big sigh of relief that he's behind bars, and I don't even know this family!

    Can you imagine what life has been like for them for 24 years, sitting, wondering? Shalonda had a twin sister, and Marilyn Poole's story of trying to talk to her about her sister's death just tears at my heart:

    She used to ask me all the time, ‘Where is my sister?’ I couldn’t explain it to her — why God came to get her sister.

    Having another child, they had no choice but to pull themselves together and try to move on as a family, but let's be real: you never really put the murder of your child behind you. It's just not possible.

    Not to mention the fear of what that person might be doing to other kids ... that stays with you.

    As it turns out, Ferguson was arrested just months later, in October of 1990, for sexual assault. He stayed in a South Carolina prison until 1997. He's been on active probation since his release, but living in South Carolina. For at least seven years, he couldn't hurt any other kid, but who knows what has happened since.

    The good news is now he's in prison and facing charges of first-degree murder and first-degree sex offense. This could spell the end of it all ... and provide some much-needed closure for the Poole family.

    What do you think the punishment should be here?

     

    Image via Spartanburg County Jail


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    9 Tricks to Introducing Bottle to BabyBy now I think every mom knows the benefits of breastfeeding. But there's one hardcore drawback, isn't there? Breastfeeding baby means always being around baby, which ... well, can't always happen! So what's a mom to do when she has her best friend's wedding coming up or she's facing the dreaded end of maternity leave? Teach baby to use a bottle, of course. 

    Only any breastfeeding mom who has tried to introduce the bottle knows this is easier said than done. Some babies just do not WANT to take the bottle, and when baby ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

    But have no fear ... help is on the way.

    The Stir asked real moms who have made it past the battle over bottle to share how they managed to get their little nurser to take something other than her nipple:

    1. Invest in Good Nipples -- If you've never bottlefed a baby, chances are you're going to walk into the nipple aisle of the local store and be absolutely confused by the sea of choices! If your baby is still in the newborn stage, look for a slow-flow nipple, which will release the food more slowly (not gush into baby's mouth and overwhelm them). There are also nipples out there that claim to be more like a woman's breast. There's no guarantee that they'll work any better than a regular one, but some moms we asked swear by them, so it's not a bad idea to pick up one of each the first time out.

    2. Pump Your Breast Milk -- By the time a baby is 3 or 4 weeks old, your supply is usually good enough to allow you to do at least one pumping to make baby's first bottle. It will be a lot easier to introduce the foreign rubber nipple to baby if the taste of what comes out of it is familiar! If you're going to be using formula, that will come later!

    3. Enlist a Helper -- Babies who are breastfed come to mom expecting to be put to the breast and may become increasingly frustrated when that boobie doesn't appear. A dad, grandma, or family friend will likely have a lot more success getting baby to eat from a bottle. Your best bet -- after Dad -- is to try to find someone who has bottlefed a baby before. It might also be necessary for Mom to leave the room entirely.

    4. Hold Baby Differently Than You Do While Nursing -- Breastfeeding moms all have different styles of holding baby to nurse -- from the cradle hold to the football hold and so on. But if you're cradling baby as always, they'll be expecting the breast. Try holding them in a different way, preferably propped up so they can easily drink from the bottle.

    5. Express Some Milk -- Baby might be confused by the feel of that rubber nipple, but several moms told us that their baby finally responded to the bottle after they'd squeezed out the breast milk onto the nipple, so they got the taste right away. This prompted them to start sucking and voila.

    6. Try a Spoon -- Sounds strange, but one mom told us this helped big time in making the transition. It was a last resort after several attempts to get the baby to take a bottle, and it worked! She propped her son in the car seat and produced the spoon. He lapped at the milk on the spoon and learned that he could get milk from a source other than mom. She then re-introduced the bottle, and the baby took it.

    7. Try a Medicine Dropper -- This tip came from another mom who said she was desperate after several bottle attempts, but again it seemed to help teach her daughter that milk could come from anywhere. In this case, the mom would give her daughter breast milk in the dropper after she'd already eaten some from the breast and therefore wasn't so hungry and desperate for a meal. She did it every day for a week before once again trying the bottle.

    8. Breastfeed First -- A hungry, cranky baby is not always up for change -- would you be? Try nursing baby for a little while, but don't allow them to fill up on your milk. That way they're hungry but in a better mood and more apt to try something new. THEN let Dad step in to finish the job with a bottle.

    9. Don't Give Up -- You certainly should NOT starve a baby who is refusing to take the bottle, but giving in right away and breastfeeding isn't helping anyone. A baby can survive 10 minutes without you nursing them! Many moms make the big mistake of giving in too quickly ... and the baby never learns.

    What are your best tips for getting baby to take a bottle?

     

    Image via JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    drunk 9-year-oldI have never really worried about alcohol and my 8-year-old. If you're nodding along and thinking, "She's 8, why would you?" prepare to be as shocked as I was by the latest viral video. Uploaded to YouTube by some concerned skaters at a skatepark, the video features a drunk 9-year-old boy.

    And when I say drunk, I do mean DRUNK! The youngster had just consumed 18 cans of a bourbon/cola mixture that's about 7 percent alcohol! He's slurring his words and barely able to stand on his scooter.

    The video is heartbreaking, I warn you, and it also has a fair share of curse words, so make sure the kids aren't in the room:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

     

    Ugh. How long did you make it? By the two-minute mark, I could barely keep going.

    Apparently the shooter of the video called cops, who showed up and said they found a very sick little boy -- so ill that they considered calling an ambulance. There's an investigation ongoing into whether it really was an aunt who gave the boy all that alcohol. Meanwhile, the boy's parents are reportedly horrified.

    Wouldn't you be?

    Perhaps I'm naive, but I'm shocked to see a 9-year-old intoxicated at all! My 8-year-old is much more concerned about saving enough money to buy that American Girl doll she's had her eye on than she is about anything remotely related to alcohol. We aren't big drinkers in my house, but we do have a liquor cabinet, and there is beer or wine in the fridge on occasion. Not only has she NEVER sneaked any, but she's commented that she thinks the smell of the beer is "disgusting."

    You can see why I never worried.

    But this scares me. Especially after looking at the statistics that showed the average age at which young people ages 12 to 17 begin to drink is 13 years old! THIRTEEN! That's not far enough away! And that's an average -- kids can start even younger (as we see with this 9-year-old).

    Is this the future? Worrying that our pre-teen kids are going to turn into alcoholics?

    I certainly hope not, but we can't take for granted that they're immune from the temptation of alcohol. The conversations -- difficult as they are -- need to start NOW, not when they're teenagers.

    What do you think of this video? Will you talk to your younger kids about alcohol after seeing it?

     

    Image via Bradley GoudieMedia/YouTube


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Farrah Abraham Couples TherapyIt's Thursday, and you know what that means! Time to go back into the Couples Therapy compound to find out just how long Farrah Abraham can keep up the "my boyfriend dumped me right before therapy" charade. We didn't get to hear much about Brian Dawe tonight (not that we ever hear his name -- he keeps getting bleeped out!), but we did find out what the cast thinks of Farrah. 

    They all seem to think she's nuts! But no one dislikes the Teen Mom quite as much as Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong ... which is ironic considering how much the two are alike!

    Frankly, it's no big surprise Taylor doesn't like Farrah. Here the woman is sitting talking about how her husband used to beat the shit out of her and put her in the hospital, and Farrah's response isn't to ask her how she's feeling emotionally but to comment that the plastic surgeons did a good job because she can't see any scars on Taylor's face.

    Um. What?! Leave it to Farrah to hyper-focus on one of her favorite subjects: plastic surgery!

    Then Taylor totally nails Farrah on being uber rude when the whole cast sits down the dinner and the young mom decides to order her entire meal -- from appetizer to dessert -- while everyone is still on the drinks ordering phase! Who does that?

    Oh, but how quickly the tables turn! 

    More From The Stir: Farrah Abraham's Fake Boyfriend Reveals Just How Much He Dislikes Her

    As the night goes on and Taylor gets increasingly blitzed, the Real Housewives star completely loses her shit ... and her credibility. She's nasty to Farrah too her face, looking down her nose at the Teen Mom for her age. She's incensed about the crappy food and heat in her room that she says is too high, and she takes it out on one of the poor staffers, who is trying the best she can to address the problems only to have a drunken Taylor screaming in her face and cursing.

    Of course Taylor's fiance, John Bluher, totally enables her and feeds her delusions that the gorgeous home where the whole Couples Therapy cast is camped out is some hellhole, and the duo looks all ready to walk (although sneak peeks of next week's episode show they're on the couch during group, so it's a lot of drama for nothing).

    Frankly, I wanted to reach through the TV screen and give both of them a good slap and tell them to wake up and smell reality! 

    But it was absolutely delicious hearing Farrah start whining about how rude and awful Taylor was ... because she was right! And she nailed it when she said "I'm not talking about how old you are and how little you've done!"

    Burn!!!

    If Farrah's fake boyfriend wasn't enough to keep this season interesting, the cat-fighting between these reality stars will definitely do it. I can't wait to see how Farrah deals when she realizes Taylor is sticking around.

    What else do you think Farrah and Taylor have in common?

     

    Image via VH1


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Jenelle EvansPoor Jenelle Evans! The Teen Mom 2 star is getting slammed, big time, for profiting off the tragic death of a mentally ill 18-year-old in her mom's neighborhood. Among her biggest critics is fellow Teen Mom star Roxanne DeJesus (mom of Teen Mom 3's Briana DeJesus). But before you write this off as another day, another Jenelle scandal, hold up. Let's give credit where credit is due.

    Jenelle has been tweeting like mad about Keith Vidal, the teenager who was shot by police after his parents called for help. She's also shared the tragic tale on Sulia, a social network that pays her to lend her celebrity to stories to boost traffic.

    This is a big story, a story that needs to be talked about! And I say good for her for sharing it!

    More From The Stir: Jenelle Evans' Decision to Breastfeed Surprises Even Her

    Putting it on Sulia technically that means she is getting paid to share Vidal's story. But is that such a bad thing? Jenelle is a major player on the Internet with more than 848,000 Twitter followers. Her Sulia links don't just generate money for her, they generate attention. And that seems to be what she's after here. Just check out this latest tweet from Jenelle on the tragedy:

     

    Thanks for the help everyone! We did it ! Making this worldwide news now!!!! â�¤ï¸ï¿½ pic.twitter.com/Dfv8jw3swT

    — Jenelle Evans (@PBandJenelley_1) January 10, 2014

    The details of Vidal's story are tragic -- his parents called the cops thinking they'd be getting help, only to watch their 90-pound son be shot right in front of their eyes. The boy had allegedly already been tased before he was killed, which has opened up a whole host of questions about whether or not this was excessive force or not.

    More From The Stir: Parents Watch in Horror as Teen Son Is Killed by Police They Called for Help

    Police brutality -- or the investigation into it anyway -- is a major concern in our country. It's not something to be brushed under the rug!

    Frankly, it's nice to see Jenelle using her fame for good. She's tweeting about something other than her boobs or her personal drama. What she's doing might not be completely selfless, but that doesn't mean it won't help the greater good.

    I'd love to see more of these girls take on an advocacy role and actually use their popularity to change the world. Just imagine what they could do!

    What do you think of Jenelle fighting so hard to get this out there? Does it change how you view her?

     

    Image via Twitter


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Farrah abrahamAre you ready for a good laugh? Hold onto your bellies, reality TV fans, because this one is going to be a gutbuster! Teen Mom and porn star Farrah Abraham announced on Couples Therapy that she is writing ... a Christian parenting book!

    Will hold as you clean whatever was in your mouth off your computer screen ... OK, done? So according to Farrah, this book is actually part of a "trilogy" that also includes an erotic sex novel.

    Confused?

    So was Couples Therapy co-star Sada Bettencourt who said those two topics in the same sentence actually "violate the law of physics!"

    But let's be honest: 50 Shades knock-off in the works or not, I'm not seeing a huge market for a parenting book written by Farrah Abraham.

    This is the mom who left her baby in the bath and walked out of the room on national television! This is the mom who placed a sleeping infant in the hallway of an apartment complex, then walked inside and shut the door!

    Not to mention this is the mom whose 4-year-old still uses a pacifer on the regular, who waxed her 3-year-old's eyebrows, and whose kid was recently spotted without a car seat.

    And we're supposed to take parenting tips from her? I'd laugh if I didn't want to cry!

    More From The Stir: Farrah Abraham's Fake Boyfriend Reveals Just How Much He Dislikes Her

    The thing is, Farrah wasn't kidding! She was dead serious when telling Sada and wife Whitney Mixter about her book plans. And later when Real Housewives star Taylor Armstrong poked fun at her about the books, Farrah was indignant!

    She somehow seems to think she's really got something to say, which is absolutely terrifying. 

    Although not as terrifying as the thought of people buying her book and actually taking her advice! We haven't seen the book yet, so I can't say that anything Farrah suggests will be dangerous or illegal, but we HAVE seen parents take the advice doled out in parenting books way too far ... and with tragic consequences.

    Is being a celebrity really reason enough for someone to give this girl a parenting book deal? Isn't anyone a little worried about what she is going to suggest parents do?! We've seen her parenting methods! They're a giant warning sign, folks!

    At the very least, something like this should come with a giant disclaimer, advising parents that this is just one reality star's opinion on parenting.

    Would you buy Farrah's parenting book? What do you think of celebrity parenting books as a whole?

     

    Image via Instagram


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Michael Marshall and Sharon Glass

    A teenager who showed up on the stand this week to testify against his father's girlfriend in a child abuse case is lucky to be alive. Two years ago, Florida cops found the then 12-year-old boy weighing just 40 pounds. The boy had spent nearly two years of his life starving and being locked in a closet or tied to his bed.

    A Florida jury is now trying to figure out what to do with Sharon Glass, the father's girlfriend, who faces multiple felony charges, including aggravated child abuse. I don't envy them.

    According to police, the abuses this poor boy, now age 14, went through began in 2010 and went straight through 2012 when cops rescued him based on a tip from a family friend.

    During that time, the boy would spend days at a time either tied to his bed or locked in a closet. He would eat toothpaste to stave off hunger. One Christmas he reportedly was allowed out of his closet only to watch the other kids in the family open gifts, while he was given only coal and then returned to his closet "home."

    The alleged tortures continue, all of them horrifying. Police reported that when they found the 12-year-old, he was so thin that he looked like a skeleton.

    Glass and the boy's father, Michael Marshall, are both facing charges (they are being tried separately).

    But what do you do with people like this? If they did even part of what they're accused of, how can you come up with a punishment that fits the crime?

    The fact is, we don't treat criminals in our justice system this badly. Prison may not be a picnic, but you still get three hots and a cot. You have rights. You have DIGNITY.

    Granted we want our prisoners to have some rights because they are still human beings, and we are showing ourselves to be the bigger people by affording them human treatment. But with cases like this, I have to say it's hard to say, sure, let's throw them in jail; that'll teach them. Will it? Is giving them better than they gave really PUNISHMENT?

    I know I'll be watching this case closely to see what the judge and jury decide ... but I don't envy them.

    What do you think the punishment should be here? Is there any way to truly make up for what was done to this child?

     

    Image via police


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    aniston walkerFew stories are as hard to read as those of missing children. Your heart can't help but go out to the parents waiting to hear that their child has been found. But it's hard to summon much sympathy for the mom of missing Tennessee baby Aniston Walker. The 7-month-old disappeared on Thursday and has yet to be found.

    But her mother, 33-year-old Andrea Walker, is already in trouble with the cops. She's been charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect or endangerment.

    According to cops, Walker took her 5-year-old to school on Thursday, but left 7-month-old Aniston and her 3-year-old home when she did it! Then, when she came home to find Aniston missing, cops allege the mom went out looking for her ... and left the 3-year-old home alone again!

    I'm not going to say she deserved for her child to go missing, but the possibility had to have crossed her mind?!

    You don't leave a 7-month-old OR a 3-year-old home alone. There are a hundred different "what ifs" running through my head right now, and all of them end with the answer: those kids are too young to help themselves.

    What if a fire broke out? What if the toddler turned on the water and the baby started to drown? What if one or both fell down the stairs? What if. What if. What if.

    I hope Aniston is OK, and I'd never wish a missing child on anyone ... but I have to say I'm glad cops have hauled her mom in on charges. Being a victim of a crime doesn't give you a pass on committing them, especially not when kids' lives are at stake.

    What should be done with Walker?

     

    Image via police


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    girl readingWithout a doubt, one of the hardest parts of having a child who is fast approaching the tween years is the increasing need to explain the changing body. Puberty doesn't scare me. Talking about puberty doesn't scare me.

    But like many kids, my daughter is not a big fan of talking about her body with me. Considering her mother once sat through a sex talk with her fingers in her ears as she chanted "la, la, la, la, la" (I was such a mature kid), I suppose this is nature's way of getting back to me.

    But whether she wants to talk about it or not, puberty is coming, and she has to hear about it -- if not from me, then from a book.

    But what book? The market is rife with books on sex and hormones and growing up, but the problem is not all of them are really that good.

    More than a few out there are too condescending to kids, others too cutesy or just plain inaccurate. So I did what any mother would do in my situation ... I reached out to other moms to find out what books they'd read with their kids!

    Here's a round-up of the best choices for girls, for boys, and some that work for kids of both genders.

    What is your go-to book about puberty for kids?

     

    Image via Zack Seckler/Corbis

     


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Jacqueline Bisset Golden GlobesGoing in, we knew Amy Poehler and Tina Fey would nail hosting the 2014 Golden Globes. We knew Jennifer Lawrence would probably make us love her even more and Breaking Bad would most likely win some awards. We even knew there would be at least one absolutely crazy, what the heck are they talking about speech of the night. But nobody expected that acceptance speech to come from Jacqueline Bisset.

    Then again, nobody expected the British actress to show up with hair that looked like she just rolled out of bed either, but it happened! And after taking 69 years to get to the stage (or it felt like it anyway), the winner for best supporting actress for Dancing on the Edge managed to surprise even the NBC censors with her curse-laden crazy pants acceptance:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    You caught the "s--t," didn't you? So much for NBC's delay! That meandering mess of a speech was so hard to follow, no one can really blame the censors for missing it.

    Was that Bisset's way of giving the Hollywood Foreign Press the middle finger for making her wait until her fifth nomination to win? Or was the 69-year-old actress in her cups, as they say across the pond?

    She wouldn't be the only one. Fellow Brit Emma Thompson actually brought her cocktail right out on stage to introduce the nominees for the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, although she gave credit for the actual introduction to the "voice of God." And Amy and Tina brought out their own goblets later in the night in a nod to the rather inebriated tone of the evening.

    Who knows. Bisset may have just been in such shock that she didn't know what to say. You've got the whole world watching, and that pesky music to contend with, and you know the audience is just biding its time until Amy and Tina come back onstage.

    Either way, she was entertaining. Which is more than can be said of Ben Affleck's presenting this year.

    What did you make of Jacqueline Bisset's speech?

     

    Image via Getty Images/Handout


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    alicia grayA married math teacher is headed to jail. Her crime? Having sex with a 14-year-old student. Unfortunately, we seem to be seeing more and more of these cases in America. But have you ever seen a YouTube apology from one of the teachers? There's a first for everything.

    Convicted of engaging in a sexual act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under 19 years old, former teacher Alicia Gray was sentenced last week to five years in prison -- although she'll only have to serve six months, with five years probation. But before being hauled off to jail, Gray sat down to make a sniffly apology that she just happened to record and post on YouTube for maximum effect. Take a look:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    OK, so she sniffles. And she has Jesus (and a pastor!) on her side.

    But does a grown woman who had sex with a child really get off this easily? Does telling a kid, hey, it's OK I sexually abused you because God makes "beauty from ashes" really count as remorse? Words like that border on a "I'm sorry, but you should really be grateful" kind of apology, and those are the worst kind.

    They come from people who aren't apologizing so much as they are digging at the person whom they hurt for actually FEELING hurt. They're telling the person how to feel when that's not their place.

    Gray spends a lot of time talking about God in this apology. A LOT. But it seems very me-centric. She's returned to His love. She's got her church around her. She's using Him to clean up her life.

    An apology expert was recently asked to weigh in on Governor Chris Christie's bridgegate apology, and she pointed out that a good apology is "not about you"!

    What about this poor kid?

    What about his life?

    What does her religious rebirth mean for the CHILD?

    Gray might be truly apologetic, but these are the kind of apologies that make it hard to tell if the person is sorry for what they did or just sorry that their life got up-ended. She's facing jail time. She will never teach again. Her whole community knows she's a pedophile.

    Of course she's "sorry." Her life is a mess, and that just plain sucks for her.

    Maybe it would be easier to take her apology seriously if she weren't about to go to jail. Timing, as they say, is everything.

    Or maybe it wouldn't. Because an apology all about how she's found the Lord given any other time would still be an apology about Alicia Gray, not the child she hurt.

    What do you think of this teacher's apology and the timing?

     

    Image via Mobile County Metro Jail


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Jenelle EvansWith Teen Mom 2 set to premiere its fifth season on January 21, the focus is back on Jenelle Evans ... and her parenting. News that she's expecting her second child with boyfriend Nathan Griffith has only heated up the speculation about whether Jenelle has really changed from the party girl we were first introduced to back on 16 & Pregnant. Is Jenelle really ready for another pregnancy, another child?

    Who better to ask than Jenelle herself? The Stir sat down with the Teen Mom star to talk about her pregnancy. We got her to show off her baby bump and spill her due date!

    More From The Stir: Jenelle Evans' Decision to Breastfeed Surprises Even Her

    On pregnancy after an abortion:

    I don't regret the abortion. I think I'm prepared for the backlash. I just don't want people judging me off the abortion for this new pregnancy. I want them to understand why I did it and where I was at and where I am now and how much better I am now and that it's OK to have a baby now.

    On Nathan as a father figure:

    [Jace] likes Nathan a lot. Nathan's like, "That's my little Buddy, right?" and Jace is like, "Yeah, I'm your buddy!" They get along perfect. Nathan plays cops and robbers with him and Indians and cowboys.

    He's really, really interactive with Jace, and I think Jace really appreciates that. He's not just ignored when he comes to our house.

    On Jace's reaction to her pregnancy:

    He's really excited. Every time we go out to the store, he's like, we can get that for the new baby!

    He keeps asking me when's the baby going to come out, why is it taking so long? He'll change from "I want a boy" to "I want a girl."

    On baby names:

    I was like, what should we name the baby. [Jace] was like Sophia! I say why, and he was like, "That's my friend's name at school!"

    ***

    And now for the huge news ... when is Jenelle due? According to the mom herself, she's due June 29!

    Check out that baby bump!

    Jenelle Evans baby bump

    What do you hope to see on Teen Mom 2 this season?

     

    Images by Jeanne Sager


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    computerIt's a punishment as old as time: kid screws up, kid gets punished out in public to make them really feel the shame of making a mistake. But a North Carolina mom opened up a can of worms when she decided the best way to teach her young daughter a lesson about cyberbullying was to post a "shaming" photo of the girl on the Internet. Uploaded to Facebook and later to Reddit, the photo of the girl with her iPod, which her mom says she's being forced to sell to benefit the charity Beat Bullying, has gone viral.

    It's everywhere.

    And that is precisely the problem with this new shaming your kids online trend.

    Once something is out there on the Internet, there is no taking it back. There's no pulling the photo down and saying, "OK, you've served your time. Your punishment is over."

    This punishment, and the incident that prompted it, are now out there. Forever.

    What's more, it's now available for anyone to view at anytime, and jump to what conclusions they may. College admissions workers. Potential employers.

    Anyone.

    We want our kids to learn, to get better, so they DON'T repeat their mistakes. So they AREN'T haunted by them.

    But online shaming -- be it for cyberbullying or any of a host of behavior issues -- does the very opposite. It makes the punishment their problem, forever.

    More From The Stir: Stop Publicly Shaming Your Kids & Get a Life

    Frankly I'm not the biggest fan of sending your kid out to stand on a street corner with a sign describing their infraction. But at least you can put an end to the punishment after an hour or two. The lesson is learned, and they can move on.

    After all, that's what discipline is ultimately about, isn't it? The lesson? Not about rubbing your kid's face in their mistakes for the rest of their life?

    What do you think of the cybershaming trend? Does it help kids or hurt them?

     

    Image via Arbron/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Justin BieberUh oh! Justin Bieber could be in trouble with a capital T! Cops have reportedly raided the teenage singer's house, and they're said to be looking for evidence in a recent egg attack on a neighbor's house.

    Yes, you read that right. Cops reportedly brought a battering ram to the 19-year-old's house to look for evidence of a good old-fashioned teenage egging.

    What is this world coming to? Doesn't anyone remember what it was like to be young and dumb and want to have some fun?

    More From The Stir: Justin Bieber May Have Just Done the Brattiest Thing Yet (VIDEO)

    Granted, egging someone's house is not terribly classy, and if Bieber did it, the 19-year-old comes off as a bit of a jerk. But then again, if he did it, he also comes off as a pretty typical teenager.

    So what's with the cops? And the allegations that the search warrant executed at the Biebs' abode is a FELONY search warrant? Do we really need to fill our already over-crowded jails with stupid teenagers over silly pranks?

    Sometimes I wonder if the world wouldn't be a better place if we all removed the giant sticks causing such discomfort in our collective behinds and let kids be kids. Let them make mistakes. Let some things GO.

    I'm not saying Bieber -- or any other kid -- should go unpunished. But surely these things can be handled without felony charges. Make the kids clean it up. Make them do a little community service.

    Surely we all remember doing something just as dumb when we were kids ... and we're grateful that we didn't have our lives ruined with a felony conviction.

    Teenage pranks are childish and stupid and very inconvenient, but by and large, that's the extent of the damage. We're not talking about pain and suffering here. No one was ever in any danger. At worst, someone likely had to get the hose out and spray the house down (and considering Justin Bieber lives in a ritzy neighborhood, here's guessing that someone was likely the hired help anyway).

    Punishment should always fit the "crime." And when it comes to your average teenage prank, we're using the word "crime" very loosely!

    If your kid egged a house, what would you do about it? Would you involve the cops?

     

    Image via Pacific Coast News


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Leah Messer CalvertThe trailer for season 5 of Teen Mom 2 dropped one bombshell after another on fans when it came out late last year, and the aftermath has been painful for many of the show's stars. Leah Messer Calvert certainly hasn't been immune to that pain. After cameras caught her talking about divorce from husband Jeremy Calvert, the rumors about their marriage have swirled out of control.

    With the new season set to start on MTV on Tuesday, January 21, Leah sat down with The Stir to tell us the real deal about her marriage.

    On managing a commuter marriage when Jeremy is out of town for work:

    I do hold down the fort. I am Mommy and Daddy when Jeremy can't be home. It's hard, and Jeremy has a hard time giving his attention to work and his family at the same time. When he's at work, he feels like that's where all his attention goes to. If I don't talk to him for a few days, I might get upset.

    He's still working on how to show me attention as well as work. To me it's really hard when they're working out of town. I hate it.

    More From The Stir: 'Teen Mom' Jenelle Evans Shares Exclusive Details on Her Pregnancy

    If he could find a job at home, I'd be probably 10 times happier, but I know this is what he loves to do so I just want to support him too.

    Just got to work through it and keep communicating. I think that's what's best about me and Jeremy is that we always communicate with each other.

    Corey and I were horrible at communicating.

    On her marriage to Corey:

    I believe with all my heart that Corey and I loved each other, maybe we just were not meant for each other. Still to this day I'm sure we love each other; we have kids together. I love him as my kids' father, and I'm sure he loves me and respects me as Ali and Alleeah's mother.

    But it finally got to a point where enough was enough. There was too much damage, there was too much hurt.

    On the future of her marriage to Jeremy:

    I know I've been asked and asked and asked about divorce. It's just something that he threw up and he does it all the time and even thought it's not a good thing to bring up divorce. Eventually, I tell him, it will happen, and if you keep throwing it up, it's like the little girl who cried wolf, you can't keep bringing it up -- he doesn't mean it when he brings it up.

    The whole thing with us arguing was about work and stuff like that, but we're fine. I don't think we'll ever, ever get a divorce.

    ***

    So what was she talking about in that trailer? Looks like we'll have to wait to watch this season of Teen Mom 2 to find out!

    What do you think Leah was talking about?

     

    Image by Jeanne Sager


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    Juan Pablo MaradiagaA 2-year-old is in the hospital today recovering from injuries, along with his father, but dad's next stop will likely be a jail cell. Police in Kissimmee, Florida allege Juan Pablo Maradiagathrew his toddler off the second-floor balcony of a motel before jumping himself.

    I'm glad the child is going to be OK. Considering the awful circumstances, that's really the best outcome possible. But then, the little guy never should have been in that situation. Period.

    According to police, Maradiaga contacted the toddler's mother some 30 minutes before the incident and asked her to come home because he was "frustrated." The mom was at work and couldn't leave her job, leaving Dad to handle the boy.

    So he didn't get help from her. He didn't have to throw the poor child off a balcony. He could have called someone else! Or taken the little boy for a walk so they could get some fresh air! Or heck, called the police and said, "I'm a little worried about my sanity right now, could you please send a safe adult to take this child off of my hands?"

    If this story about the call to the mom is true, this father knew he was having trouble, had the ability to call for help, and still made the worst choice possible. Which makes it doubly hard to feel any sort of sympathy for him -- frustrated dad or not.

    The thing is, I'm a mom. I get that kids are hard, and sometimes you want to tear your hair out. But there is always a better option than hurting a child. Always.

    Any parent who thinks otherwise really should get away from their kids. Immediately!

    The little boy, by the way, is expected to recover from his injuries while dad is expected to face an attempted murder charge when he gets out of the hospital.

    What do you make of the dad's last call before the tragedy?

     

    Image via police


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Kailyn LowryKailyn Lowry's scenes in the fifth season of Teen Mom 2 may feel a little familiar to the show's fans. We'll get to see Kail go through pregnancy all over again; only this time the 21-year-old is doing things a little differently.

    Not only is she no longer a Teen Mom and actually married to baby Lincoln's dad, Javi Marroquin, but grown-up Kail has learned a lot more about taking care of herself and baby in the past four years, and she's determined to share it with her fans. The Stir sat down with Kailyn to talk about Lincoln's birth, breastfeeding, and what it means to be a "crunchy mom" on television.

    On her worries about having a second baby:

    I always pictured myself meeting somebody and having a family with them. I never thought that I would be with someone, have a child with them, and then it didn't work out and then have another child. I never really want that for my kids either ... that's, um, different.

    I don't really care what people say about me; it's what they say about my kids. I don't really want my kids to feel different. I don't want to ever confuse Isaac with the fact that he doesn't have the same dad as Lincoln. For right now he seems to understand it, so hopefully ... I never really wanted them to look really different. I wanted them to look like brothers and be close like brothers, and I didn't want them having two different dads to affect how close they are.

    More From The Stir: Leah Calvert Answers Divorce Rumors Once & For All

    On what Teen Mom 2 fans will get to see of baby Lincoln: 

    We decided that we wanted to keep the birth as private as possible. I did have the cameras there for Isaac's birth, but we wanted to keep this more private. There is labor stuff in there and immediately following his birth.

    On learning people call her a crunchy mom:

    [Laughing] What the heck?! What does crunchy mean?!

    (We explained, and Kail was relieved and when she saw her co-stars a few minutes later immediately told them, "They say I'm a crunchy mom!")

    On deciding to eat her placenta:

    So I have some mom friends I've met along the way that have kind of encouraged me. They've helped with breastfeeding and stuff and opened my eyes to the placenta stuff.

    I did some research and saw that it could be beneficial, so I decided why not give it a shot? It couldn't hurt anything!

    So I had a really hard time with birth after Isaac, and I personally give credit to this time around with Lincoln to the placenta pills. I didn't have postpartum [depression], I haven't had a hard time with not sleeping. I had a really good experience with it.

    I think more people should try it without judging. I'm not a cannibal! It's not like I'm stabbing into my placenta and eating it! You dry it out, put it in capsules, and act like it's no big thing. It's like a vitamin.

    On breastfeeding and the fans' takeaway:

    I breastfed [Isaac] for one month and I kind of just gave up, but this time around, I'm eight weeks strong and I'm still going and hopefully it continues.

    If nobody takes away anything else that I send out message-wise to the audience, I really hope that they do take that away. Whether you're 35 or 17, I hope that they will maybe not learn from my situation but say, "Oh, she breastfed? Let me try it," or, "Oh, she did the placenta thing? Let me look into it."

    Maybe open people's eyes a little bit, maybe they'll learn something that I did.

    What do you most hope to see from Kailyn on this season of Teen Mom 2?

     

    Image by Jeanne Sager


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Jenelle EvansThe Teen Mom franchise has never exactly shied away from controversial topics. After all, it's built on one of the most taboo subjects in America -- teenage sex. Now Teen Mom 2, which is set to premiere on January 21, will tackle the topic of abortion, specifically trouble-plagued star Jenelle Evans' decision to go through with ending a pregnancy.

    The 22-year-old has allowed MTV to follow her through everything from teenage pregnancy to drug addiction, from being homeless to the jailhouse. But what prompted her to allow the network to share one of the most personal choices a woman can make? The Stir sat down with Jenelle to find out.

    More From The Stir: Jenelle Evans Shares Exclusive Details on Her Pregnancy

    On how MTV came to film the abortion:

    MTV was like, "Do you want to film it?" And I said, "Yeah." They said, "Are you sure," and I said, "Yes." 

    They're like, "OK, you know a lot of backlash is going to come from this." I'm like, "Yeah, I know. It's OK."

    On choosing abortion:

    At the time, when I filmed it and everything, I didn't know I was going to meet Nathan or have a baby or anything like that. You don't know what the future's going to hold.

    At the time I needed to do what I needed to do. I wasn't in the best situation. I was living back at my mom's, just got arrested for a felony charge, and I mean, I was in such a depressed state. It was just ... my body was so out of whack. I was sick, so I went to the doctor for bronchitis, and that's when they told me I was pregnant.

    I just couldn't be with Courtland Rogers because he was abusive. He's not a good father figure. He has a child already and he's not involved in their life.

    On her regrets:

    I don't regret the abortion. I think I'm prepared for the backlash. I just don't want people judging me off the abortion for this new pregnancy. I want them to understand why I did it and where I was at and where I am now and how much better I am now and that it's OK to have a baby now.

    On what will happen when her child(ren) find out about the abortion:

    I don't think Jace is going to understand right now. I'm going to explain it to him when he sees it or hears about it, but I'm not going to just go tell him.

    Jace knows the way I was treated by Courtland. He didn't like Courtland. He said he didn't want Courtland around. It was surprising to me because I didn't think Jace would ever say that about anyone I dated. It threw up a red flag, and yeah, I just needed to get out of that relationship. It was horrible.

    ***

    Jenelle's abortion will play a central role in the upcoming season, which premieres on January 21 at 10 p.m. on MTV.

    What do you think of the abortion on TV? Does Jenelle's explanation make sense?

     

    Image by Jeanne Sager


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Katie HalbertHere's a good reminder that the choices we make are not made in a vacuum -- they're bound to affect the ones around us. A young Alabama mom is in jail, and her 2-year-old is in the foster system after the toddler was found wandering in the woods. In his hands? His mother's suicide note!

    Now obviously Katie Halbert is alive -- or she wouldn't be facing misdemeanor charges here. And thank goodness for it. Suicide is never the answer. But then, neither is allowing a toddler to wander around the woods just because you're having a tough time.

    I don't want to sound unsympathetic about Halbert's plight here. Being suicidal is no laughing matter. I hope she gets the help she needs -- for her sake and for her son's.

    But I'm getting a little tired of parents putting their kids in danger because of their own personal problems. Look at the dad charged this week with attempted murder after he allegedly threw his 2-year-old off a motel balcony. Cops said he'd called the boy's mom and asked her to come home because he was frustrated. When she couldn't, cops say he threw the kid over the balcony and then jumped. Again ... putting the child in danger because he was too wrapped up in his own issues.

    In Halbert's case, she doesn't seem to have called anyone at all. It was when the child was found in the woods with mom's note that police were called to look for her. When they did find her, cops charged her with third-degree domestic violence/reckless endangerment.

    The thing is, when you have a child -- whether it's your own or one you are simply caring for at the moment -- you don't get to put yourself first anymore. You took on the mantle of being the responsible adult. You OWE it to that child to be there for them, to keep them safe because they can't do it themselves.

    If you can't keep a child safe, you shouldn't be in charge of them. Period. And if you don't hand the child over to someone who can keep them safe, well ... expect to land in jail.

    Do you have any sympathy for this mom? What do you think should be done with her?

     

    Image via Etowah County Sheriff's Office

     

    If the words someone is using indicate they may be considering suicide, or if you yourself have wrestled with the idea, please reach out to a suicide hotline. There is ALWAYS someone there who wants to listen and who will take you seriously. You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    pencil sharpenerWhile families in Roswell, New Mexico try to make sense of the shooting at the Berrendo Middle School on Tuesday, a hero has emerged from the chaos. Social studies teacher John Masterson is credited with disarming the 12-year-old shooter, putting his own life at risk to save countless children.

    According to reports, Masterson actually walked right up to the armed assailant and calmly told him to put the gun down.

    Brave. Incredible even -- that he did it, and that it worked. 

    But is it really that surprising? That a teacher would be the hero?

    Any time you get a bunch of parents of kids of a certain age together, the topic will undoubtedly turn to school and then to teachers. Complaints will be made.

    More From The Stir: 20 Things Never to Say to Your Kid's Teacher

    "I got another letter home asking me to send in more glue sticks. Is there a glue stick monster in that classroom? Does this teacher think I'm made of money?"

    "Uuuugh, did Mrs. Jones always assign things at the last minute to your kids? As if I didn't have enough to do on a Tuesday night, I had to suddenly run out and buy oak tag for a project. Couldn't she have told us this last WEEK?"

    And on and on.

    Teacher salaries. Teacher vacations. Homework.

    It all gets hashed out in lengthy bitchfests by parents. I'll admit I've done it a time or two myself. Nobody's perfect.

    But then incidents like this crop up. Like Sandy Hook. Like Virginia Tech. Like Chardon.

    Again and again and again there are shootings at schools, shootings where teachers put themselves in the line of fire to protect other people's children. And again we are reminded that for all that there is to complain about, there is so much more to be grateful for.

    For people who love our kids, even though they didn't come from them, even though, let's face it, sometimes our kids are kind of smelly and bratty.

    For people who make our kids fall in love with Ramona Quimby and American history.

    For people who dole out hugs ... and discipline.

    For people who say "good job" and "OK, let's try that again."

    For people who inspire.

    For people who nurture.

    For people who protect.

    For people who understand that our children aren't just our future, they are our greatest treasure, a treasure we share with them each day.

    John Masterson is a man who understands that the parents of Roswell gave him their treasures to inspire, to nurture, to protect. And he did it.

    But he's not the only one.

    And so I ask ... the next time you are tempted to kvetch about that glue monster or the oak tag, think of John Masterson.

    There are thousands just like him. And to all of them, I say "thank you."

    What do YOU want to say to teachers like him?

     

    Image via KOMUNews/Flickr


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