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A Helping Hand 

click to enlarge Alison and Mira in Montréal, 2008
  • Alison and Mira in Montréal, 2008

My daughter, Mira, turns 12 this month. She rocks lavender Doc Martens and big hoop earrings and is partial to sayings like "Yas kween" and "Badass," but it doesn't feel like so long ago that she was a newborn.

When we arrived home from the hospital a few days before Mother's Day 2007, my mom was there to help out. Though I was in a state of bleary-eyed postpartum delirium, I still remember how special it felt to spend my first Mother's Day as a mom with my own mother and daughter. And experiencing the intense joy, love and, yes, challenges of having children for the last 12 years has given me a new understanding of and appreciation for my mom.

When you're a mama, it helps to have relatives, friends and people from the community to help lighten the load. In this month's Kids VT — our annual Mom & Baby Issue — we write about some of the ways that happens in our state.

In "Mothers' Helpers," Brett Ann Stanciu spotlights Good Beginnings of Central Vermont's Postpartum Angels Family Support program, which pairs volunteers with new moms so that they can take a shower, nap or do chores around the house while someone else looks after the baby. And in "Raising Emotionally Competent Kids," Mary Ann Lickteig interviews parenting consultant Alyssa Blask Campbell, founder of Seed & Sew, who teaches moms and dads how to help kids cope and cool down when they're feeling angry or frustrated (in the grocery store, perhaps).

In our camp guide starting  — the last one of the year — read "A Model of Inclusion," about Partners in Adventure, a Chittenden County-based summer camp and year-round program started 20 years ago by Debbie Lamden, a mom of a child with cerebral palsy. Lamden wanted her son, and other young people like him, to have the opportunity to experience the fun of camp with no restrictions. She's created a program that offers sailing, rock climbing, horseback riding and more adventurous activities to all campers, regardless of their special needs.

And you'll find my article "Team Effort" about how gestational surrogates — who are moms themselves — help people who've struggled to become parents turn their dreams into reality.

In this issue, you'll also find a great informational article on searching for frogs this time of year and a profile of Dr. Jacques Bailly, a University of Vermont classics professor who is the voice of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which takes place at the end of this month and is televised on ESPN.

And don't miss "Milestones," a moving and powerful essay by Julie Peoples-Clark about marveling at her young son's development while simultaneously grieving her daughter.

Parenting can be hard. We hope you'll use Kids VT as a resource to make it a little easier — and more fun.

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