How A Mom’s Behavior Might Be Alienating Her Teen Daughter

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Gina claims her 18-year-old daughter, Alexis, was “kidnapped” by her “survivalist” boyfriend and says she fears he is brainwashing her against their family and fears for Alexis’ safety. Both David and Alexis, on the other hand, say that Gina’s claim is absolutely false, that Alexis is 18 and went voluntarily with him.
Why Mom Says ‘Social Media Joke’ With Daughter ‘Backfired Big Time’ 
After reuniting with her daughter on Dr. Phil’s stage, and criticizing both Alexis and her 19-year-old boyfriend about their behavior, Gina asks Dr. Phil, “Where do I go from here? I want a relationship with my daughter.” 
“If we were going to make a list of ways you could alienate and drive your daughter away, what you’re doing right now, in the last five minutes, would be the absolute best way to alienate and drive her away,” Dr. Phil says to Gina in the video above. “You couldn’t push her to him anymore if you had a stick and were chasing her down the street.” 
“You’re right. You’re absolutely right,” Gina says. “I’ve tried everything.” 
Dr. Phil repeats some of the statements that Gina has made to her daughter during the show and says, “I’m thinking, my God, I would go stick my head in a blender before I would come home.” 
Dr. Phil continues, “You’re making it so unattractive to come home.” 
Watch more from this episode of Dr. Phil, “’I’m Afraid My Daughter Was Kidnapped by Her Survivalist Boyfriend.’”  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Someday I Won't Pick You Up Again

Recently my friend sent me a quote she saw posted about how someday all moms put down their kids and never pick them back up (because they’re now too old to want/need to be held). As a new-ish mom, (roughly 6 months in) this wrecked me. Yes, the baby stage is hard in many ways, but there are so many reasons I want to cling to it.

Right now my life is filled with craziness. Baby just started to crawl, so my days feel as if I am chasing a mini-tornado continually trying to keep him (and my house) safe. He’s also teething, so this tornado is usually coupled with an inconsolable shrieking. There’s also the ongoing sleepless nights, diaper blowouts, and spit up messes. It takes approximately 92 hours to leave our house thanks to feedings, diaper changes, outfit changes, and packing up enough stuff for a small army. In many ways this stage of life is exhausting and emotionally draining. I can understand why some people loathe the baby stage.

Yet, for all of the craziness, this stage is pretty great. I love when baby boy is nursing and he snuggles his little warm body so close to mine. I love the endless cuddles, in which he feels safe in my arms. I feel as if I can protect him from everything wrong in the world simply by picking him up and wrapping my arms around him.

He’s at a stage where he gives grins out for everything and everyone. He doesn’t know hate. I love that innocence and that his smile can light up a room. I want to hold onto that innocence and love for as long as possible. It isn’t just the grins that get me. Right now he has the best belly laughs when I tickle him or play peek-a-boo. He squeals with such delight when I raise him over my head and we play “airplane.” He hangs on my every word and wiggles excitedly when I sing a song or read a story. He is discovering so much and I love seeing his little mind work things out. I love when his eyes light up in excitement and he looks at me to celebrate his victory of figuring out something new. For now, I am his world and he is mine. There are often times he reaches his arms out for me and my husband is convinced his inner monologue is saying, “mama, mama, mama, mama!” Until I pick him up and hold him.

Yet, I know there is a day (which will come sooner than I think) when the incessant mama will morph to mommy and then mom and then “ugh, mooooom.” There will be a day when my songs and stories and games won’t elicit the same giggles and shouts of glee. In fact, some of my jokes and stories will likely elicit groans and eye rolls during the teenage years. There will come a day when the endless cuddles will only come every so often and then maybe not at all. There will come a day when I won’t be his world. When someone else will become his world in a completely different way. And that’s okay. That’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s supposed to go out into the world and explore and learn and grow and love. But, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. Along the way he will learn things like hate and prejudice. He will learn that not all people are good. He won’t give out his smiles so readily. And at that point, I can’t fix everything so easily for him. I won’t be able to shield him away from the bad, just help him overcome it.

Someday, I’ll stop picking him up because he’ll be too big. Someday he won’t need me like he needs me now. Someday he will keep discovering the world without me alongside him. Someday I won’t know everything about him inside and out because someday we may not be able to see or talk to each other every single day. But, even though that someday is inevitable. Even though that someday is hard to imagine for this new mama, there is something about that someday that will always be true. Something I want to tell my baby, so he doesn’t forgot it – ever. Someday, I may not physically pick you up, but I’ll always be there to emotionally pick you up. To support you, love you, encourage you. Even on the days when you may not think you need me, I’ll be here, in case you decide you do. I’ll always have a hand to hold or arms to hug you. Just in case you decide you need me to be that source of comfort and love. I can always give you that, even when you’re all grown up and on your own. Because, no matter how old, no matter how big, no matter where you are – you’ll never stop being my baby.
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Food Is Love

Food Is Love

When I was 6 years old, I talked my parents into buying me a pair of moccasins so I could pretend I was an Indian warrior. Unfortunately, the moccasins offered little protection when I did my war dance over a broken Michelob bottle. I was more upset about my ruined moccasin than my cut foot.

My mother cooked up a batch of chicken noodle soup, just the way I liked it, heavy on the noodles, light on the soup.

“Have some soup, and know your mother loves you.”

When I scraped my knees trying to ski down our back alley with my feet taped to strips of aluminum siding (don’t ask), the pain was assuaged by Mom’s spaghetti and turkey meatballs.

“Eat this, and know your mother loves you,” she cooed. By my second meatball, I had all but forgotten the boo boos.

The message was clear: Food is love.

If food was love, my stoic, WWII vet father loved himself a lot. I tried to grab a bit of tangerine off his plate one day and almost lost a finger.

He was a man of few words, but one of them was “more,” which he almost always said at meal times. He had one full sentence: “Shut up, or I’ll crack you one.” Let’s say we weren’t close.

A month after my mother died, my father and I became fast friends. It was surreal to find myself hanging out with a man I’d never really known. We ate fried flounder and french fries near the ocean and talked about the sea gulls stealing everyone’s food. He said entire sentences that had nothing to do with cracking anyone.

“What a pig!” my father said throwing a french fry at the gull.

My tough-guy dad seemed to have died along with my mother. A softer, gray-haired man who loved to feed birds took his place.

But three months after my mother died, my father met Natalie at a Jewish Senior Citizens party in San Diego.

“She’d not much to look at, but she’s good company,” was my dad’s only comment when he broke the news to my sister, brother and me.

Natalie felt threatened by the memory of my mother and so abolished all talk of her while she was around. My mother’s photos were put away, as well. We figured we’d talk to my dad about mom when Natalie wasn’t around, but Natalie forbid my father to be alone with any of his children. It went on like this for 15 years.

My brother’s wife Dela figured out a way to warm my father’s heart. She cooked for him. Matzo ball soup was his favorite. He’d make the trip from San Diego to Los Angeles just to get Dela’s schnitzel or matzo ball soup. But he never came without Natalie.

On a visit to see Dad in San Diego while Natalie was in the bathroom, my father pulled out his wallet and showed me a picture of my mother when she was young and beautiful.

“My beautiful wife. I could do no wrong in her eyes.”

“Do you miss her?”

” I think about her every day.”

He quickly put his wallet away when Natalie came out.

When my father was 83 years old, I told him that I wouldn’t visit him anymore if he wouldn’t spend time alone with me.

“I’m an old man; give me another chance.”

He picked me up at my hotel, sans Natalie. We went to Anthony’s on the Bay in San Diego and ate flounder.

Jews love flounder. It’s a thing.

Dad admitted to me that he was unhappy with Natalie but too old and tired to do anything about it.

“It’s never too late to be happy, Dad.”

“I’m an old geezer. I’ll just put up with it.”

He put a shopping bag filled with mail on the table.

“Can you help me go through this?”

From that point on, I would fly in from New York to San Diego. We’d eat flounder, and I would help him go through his mail and pay his bills.

We went on a health kick and ordered the flounder broiled not fried with cole slaw instead of fries. It wasn’t gourmet, but the fish was fresh and the bay was beautiful. Dad didn’t use salt due to high blood pressure, so I squeezed lemon on his fish and dusted it with pepper.

“Thank you,” Dad said, eyes twinkling, and devoured his meal.

“Dad, every once in a while you have to chew,” I said laughing. I took my napkins and wiped the cole slaw dripping down his chin.

One morning while Natalie was in a rehab center recovering from a fall, Dad fell in the shower. He couldn’t find the strength to climb out of the tub, so he curled into a ball and went to sleep. He stayed like that for 24 hours before Natalie’s daughter found him.

By the time he got to the hospital, he had hypothermia. I flew out from New York City and sat by his bed.

On what felt like a race against time, I tried to find out a little more about this man who shared so little of himself.

“Tell me about your childhood, Dad.”

“It was okay.”

“Were you happy.”

“Enough.”

I decided to try something new. It occurred to me that my father didn’t know much about me either.

I’d become a chef and the owner of a catering company in New York City. The road to get there had been wild and rocky. Every day for the next two weeks, I sat by his bed, fed him from his hospital tray and told him about his daughter.

“When I first started cooking women weren’t welcome in the kitchen. I had to dip 3,000 strawberries in chocolate.”

“Three thousand! How did you do that?”

“It took me all day.”

“You’re tough like your old man.”

“I’m starting to think so.”

“Tell me another story!” he demanded.

“The first party I catered was for 50 people, but I didn’t know how to order food, so I came with enough cold cuts for 150. I made a mountain out of cold cuts.”

“A whole mountain! Wow, 50 people!”

“That’s nothing dad. I was catering a wedding for 150 people when I got the call about your fall. ”

“Wow,” he said, shaking his head wide-eyed. “One hundred and fifty people! That’s a lot!”

From that point on, my father would call me every day, sometimes 10 times a day.

“How many people you cooking for today?”

“Today we have a big one, 200 people. ”

“Wow! That’s a lot!”

“It’s okay, Dad. I have a lot of help.”

I moved Dad into an assisted living home with full nursing. Over the next five years I visited him almost every other month.

Every time I walked into his room I was armed with his favorite treats: kosher hot dogs slathered in mustard and a double pile of sauerkraut (just the way he liked it) or Chinese vegetable egg rolls.

My father would cheer.

“There’s my beautiful daughter who never forgets me!”

I had to start cutting the hot dogs into 4 pieces. Otherwise, he would down them in one bite. I never met anyone else who could do that.

“Dad, please try to chew!”

Mustard and sauerkraut dripping down his chin, mouth full of hot dog goop, my father still managed to ask, “How many you cooking for now?”

“Dad, next week is a big week: two weddings and a bar mitzvah. All together, 500 people!”

“Wow!”

When a nurse walked in to check his blood pressure, dad yelled, “My daughter is cooking for 500 people. She’s a big shot!”

“Just like her father,” said the nurse winking at me.

“Can I have another hot dog?”

“Dad. You have to save room. I brought you your favorite dessert. Apple pie!’

“Apple pie. I love apple pie. That’s my favorite.”

“I know, Daddy.”

As I spoon-fed him the pie, I pet his cheek, freshly shaved by the nurse. He was so happy, he was humming.

Out of my mouth tumbled, “Have some apple pie, Daddy, and know your daughter loves you.”

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Dear Parents — Yes, I Do Mind If You Smoke

The kids are playing, laughing, running. And you are smoking a cigarette. Again.

Nestled in your spot you sit — sucking in poison and breathing out relief. Every hour you do this. Every hour you miss out. Your kids want to be with you, talk to you, love you. But they have to fight with a cigarette for your attention. And they have to breathe it in just to be near you.

It may be none of my business but it’s literally all around me. I breathe it in outside of restaurants, malls, and even at the park.

It’s not illegal for an adult to smoke cigarettes and as an adult you have the right to choose. But children don’t choose this — at least not yet.

We spend so much energy talking about what’s good for our children. We engage in conversations about healthy lunches, proper education, anti-bullying, respecting rules, toxic sunscreens, BPA-free sippy cups, and endless parenting tips on how to raise intelligent, emotionally healthy, thriving kids. But what about smoking cigarettes around children? How is this still a thing?

Smoking ravages the body. It’s pretty much been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be cancer-causing. It robs hours of your time, steals your money, and leaves you anxious for your next plan of escape to have another.

Now before you go off on a rant about how I can be quiet and you will do as you please — remember this — it’s not just about you anymore. It’s about your children.

The effects of second-hand — and even third-hand smoke — are significant. When you light up a cigarette around your family and friends — even outside on your patio or several feet away — you potentially put them at serious risk.

If you smoked while pregnant — you knowingly put your child at risk in order to continue consuming nicotine. This is common knowledge. Even the cigarette companies have to put it on the box. There’s no way a parent-to-be would not know the risks of smoking while pregnant in this day and age. More likely than not, a doctor would have advised you to quit.

If you smoked while pregnant and your child turned out fine — that’s great. But it doesn’t mean it’s okay.

Addiction can be powerful. It can consume your entire life, swallowing up your identity, happiness, and productivity. I have personal experience with this. Yes, it’s hard.

I’m no saint. I’m just tired of trying to figure out the most polite way to ask the parent smoking next to their kids and mine to cut it out. I’m tired of wondering why they thought it was okay in the first place.

When your child begs you to stop smoking because you’re killing yourself and they want you around for as long as possible — you need to at least consider making an effort.

I know parents who smoke with their kids on their laps, in their cars, and in their homes. I think it sucks for the children and I’m not afraid to say it.

I’m sure I’ll offend many with my opinion and disrupt their belief that smoking cigarettes is just part of who they are. I’m sure many will say that drinking alcohol is just as bad.

I think we can do better. The addiction to cigarettes has been glamorized and normalized to no end. It’s poison — plain and simple. The next generations don’t need to carry on this legacy of slow suicide.

What do you think? Are you a parent who has felt awkward when someone lights up around your child? What’s the proper etiquette for dealing with those who choose to smoke around children?

More from Michelle: 5 Signs Your Romantic Relationship May Be Abusive

Join Michelle as she explores society, parenting, step-parenting, life lessons & more. Visit The Pondering Nook Blog & Facebook page and catch up. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Saint West Is An Adorable Little Baby Angel In Kim Kardashian's Snapchat Story

There’s no denying Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have created two beautiful children. North West is our literal style icon, and Saint is basically a baby angel. 
On Wednesday, Kim shared a little glimpse at her baby boy on Snapchat, and wow, is he cute.
His little cheeks, his bright eyes, the toothless smile, that arm reach for the camera ― it’s too much. (The only thing that could make this photo any cuter is if the little guy were wearing tiny Yeezys.)

Kim has been pretty reserved when it comes to sharing photos of Saint on social media, though there have been a few cute exceptions. North, on the other hand, has become a regular fixture on her mom’s (and aunts’) Instagram account. 
Last week, the 35-year-old reality star revealed that each of her kids favors one parent ― Saint is a total daddy’s boy, while North is definitely a mama’s girl.
“[Saint] said ‘Dada’ today, three times!” Kim told E! News at an event in Las Vegas last week. “And I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ Kanye was so excited, he was like, ‘I told him to say that.’ And I was like, just I really wanted him to say ‘Mama’ first.”
“I have to go back and see what North said first but I think he’s, like, you know, a daddy’s boy and North is a mama’s girl, so we each have one,” she added.

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Boy With Cystic Fibrosis Gets Wish To Be Garbage Man During 'Best Day Ever'

One sweet boy’s dream come true involved a lot of trash ― and that’s a good thing. 
Ethan Dean, who has cystic fibrosis, has always been fascinated with waste management. So on Tuesday, the 6-year-old had the opportunity to live out his dreams of becoming a garbage man for a day and helped pick up trash around Sacramento, California, thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation. 

The experience, which was documented on social media with the hashtag #EthanCleansUp, was no disappointment as the boy told KCRA that he had the “best day ever!”
The boy, who rode in the garbage truck with Waste Management employee Sam Thurman while wearing a special uniform, made several stops on his route including his school, the Sacramento Bee newspaper, and a fire station to pick up trash and recycling. Thousands of people came out to support him along the route, holding signs and cheering him on, Jennifer Stolo, CEO Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada told the Huffington Post in an email. 

The route concluded at the state capitol, where a press conference was held, honoring the boy. The conference featured some big names including Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg and Chief of Police Sam Somers, as speakers.

The event wasn’t just exciting for Ethan. Thurman also expressed that he was ecstatic to be part of something so special for the boy. 
“It’s a dream come true for me really. I think it’s wonderful,” Thurman told KCRA. “Humbled. Absolutely humbled.” 

Ethan’s love for waste management stretches back to when he was just a toddler. Stolo explained to HuffPost that when the family lived in a two-story home, the boy used to run upstairs when he heard the garbage truck coming, prepared to get the very best view. 
“He has multiple garbage truck toys and watches a YouTube video of trucks for hours,” Stolo said. “He wants to be a garbage man when he grows up!”
With an experience like this, it seems Ethan’s already got a head start in training!  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Meghan Trainor: 'Me Too' Mom Parody

When I first saw Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too” video I thought, “Damn I wish I looked that glam when I brushed my teeth. Or that good in a giraffe onesie.” The difference between a mom life and a glam life is pretty stark. So when my friend Jacquie suggested I make a parody out of Me Too, I couldn’t really see an angle. I mean, our lives are SO DIFFERENT. And then it came to me. Celebrate the differences. I might look like a mess, my house might be a disaster, but I’ve got love in spades! And kids who have it so good I wish I was them.

So without further ado, ENJOY my latest parody! And please SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel for more funny videos for moms! — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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What Happened When These Women Gave Their Husbands Divorce Ultimatums

Putting your foot down and issuing any sort of ultimatum in your marriage is a very risky call: Sure, you may get what you want, but if your spouse is resistant to your demands, there could be dire consequences.
Below, bloggers and readers share the ultimatums they gave their spouses and the impact it had on their marriages. 
1. End contact with the other woman. 
“I asked my ex-husband to stop seeing the other woman. It seems silly that you would have to ask your husband to stop that but at the end of the day, I loved him and I wanted it to work out. I was willing to forgive and move on so that my family could stay together. It ended up being too much to ask and we each moved on. Marriage is worth fighting for even in the hardest circumstances, if you’re both able to let go and forgive.” ― Chelsie D. 
2. Stop prioritizing poker over me. 
“My ex played a lot of poker: at casinos, tournaments and online. As the amount of time he spent playing increased, I asked him to cut down. I wanted him to at least not play online when he was home so we could spend time together. He went back and forth, but never actually cut down. Obviously, it took a toll on our marriage. To be fair, I didn’t heed any of his ultimatums, either!” ― Kathy K. 
3. Be more present in our child’s life. 
“You can’t make someone be a parent, even if you ask. They have to want to be there, emotionally and physically. I could handle my ex not being a husband for me. I couldn’t handle him not being a father. Now he sees our son once or twice a week, if he chooses.” ― Anna S. 

4. Grow up. 
“Every time we went back to my husband’s home state, he reverted back to being his parent’s teenaged son, complete with binge-drinking. This was despite promises that this time would be different or complete denials that he acted out. One night he vomited in the rental car in front of the kids. I pulled to the side of the road, opened the passenger door and shoved him out. I left him sprawled under a tree! I took the kids to a hotel. I wanted him to change but when I walked into his mom’s house the next morning, everyone acted like nothing at all had happened. We stayed married for six years after that, but I knew that day that I would never have a voice in my own relationship. Oddly, in the decades since our divorce, we’ve become friends. Both of us have changed and made amends.” ― Wendy K. 
5. Spend less so we can get out of debt.
“I told my husband how anxious it made me to have bill collectors constantly tracking us down and how throwing away so much money on late fees and bounced check fees was keeping us in a crushing cycle of never-ending debt.  We lived in a big, beautiful home with two shiny cars in the driveway and a dollar in our pockets! I requested that he not pay for things on credit. I suggested not buying new cars, vacationing or enjoying dinner out unless we actually had the cash to do so. It did not work out.  He would say, ‘Honey, we are deficit spending, like the rest of the country, lighten up!’ Our differing financial values were one of the main issues that led to our divorce.” ―Karen M. 
6. Stop being so chummy with your co-worker. 
“I asked him to cut off contact with the woman he worked with because I felt it was no longer a work friendship. Two months later, I was moving out with our two-year-old daughter and the co-worker was moving into our marital home. Ultimatums only work if they actually care about losing you.” ― Rachael J. 

7. Go to marriage counseling with me.
“I told my spouse I wanted to go to marriage counseling ‘or else.’ I was desperate for happiness and unity in our marriage and I hoped that couples counseling would provide the solutions I sought. My spouse was not closed to the idea but he wasn’t open to it, either, mostly because he didn’t like being given an ultimatum. He asked if he could choose the counselor and I agreed. But when months passed and he kept giving excuse after excuse for why he was too busy to research marriage counselors and choose one for us, I took matters into my own hands and scheduled an appointment. Ultimately, months of counseling followed by a year of separation ended in divorce. In hindsight, I see that giving him an ultimatum, and then choosing the counselor after he failed to, was my one-sided attempt to control the situation ― and he certainly despised being controlled. That said, he had no sense of urgency to repair our damaged relationship, so we were both at fault in our own ways.” ― Ann P.
8. Move back to California.  
“We had moved from California to the East Coast. After a few years of failing to feel like a team, I gave my then-husband an ultimatum that we needed to move back to the West Coast and find ourselves again as husband and wife. We were always so happy, so free, so in love before our big East Coast move. Naively, I was hoping we could find the old us again. So we did it. We took a leap of faith that moving back would be the cure for the rough patch we were in. Instantly after the move, I felt happy and relieved that we were once again doing things together, enjoying similar hobbies and spending time as a family. Unfortunately, that was short-lived. His work and friends were again prioritized over me. As a new mom with an infant, I knew that wasn’t how a healthy marriage operated. The constant disagreement on what being a team was supposed to look and feel like ultimately lead to our divorce and him actually moving back to the East Coast and my son and I staying in California. A move can’t fix everything.” ― Shelley C. 
9. Cut off contact with your former stripper girlfriend. 
“Looking back now, I can see that I may have been a bit unreasonable (ha!) by demanding that my husband choose between our 23-year marriage and his secret ex-stripper girlfriend. Ten years later, as I’m writing this from Paris with my new husband, I’m so glad he made the ‘wrong’ choice!” ― Lee G.  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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How One Hospital Is Helping Children Heal With Their Own Pets

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Mom's Awesome Invention Provides Comfort For NICU Babies

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Inspired by the premature birth of her son Zachary, one mom has invented a way to easily comfort NICU babies. 
In a video from HuffPost Rise, Dr. Yamile Jackson, CEO and president of Nurtured by Design, discussed her invention called the Zaky. The Zaky is a glove filled with beads that mimics the hand and forearm and provides support and comfort for babies by simulating someone holding them.
“I had a preemie, and I had to leave the hospital,” Jackson said. “Leaving the hospital without a newborn is very difficult.”
To help her son while he was in the NICU, Jackson slept with a stuffed garden glove (the first version of the Zaky) so it would retain her scent and left it in the NICU with Zachary. She told The Huffington Post that a nurse later asked if she could make similar gloves for the other babies in the unit. 
According to the Nurtured by Design site, the Zaky provides emotional support especially when moms and dads add their scent to the gloves as well as support for musculoskeletal development. 
“The Zakys are your pair of hands that stay with your baby when you are not holding him/her,” the site reads. “They help humanize the care of your baby and reduce morbidity as they help him/her sleep, heal, grow, thus, develop the brain.”
What started out as an invention to soothe Jackson’s son, who is now 13, has turned into a way to put many babies in the NICU at ease. The mom described her work as “a little contribution to a better world for these babies.” — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families