Episode 35: The Brothers Grimm

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Snow White. Hansel and Gretel. The Frog Prince. Stories that are well known and beloved the world over. We can thank the very famous and very prolific Brothers Grimm for collecting and sharing these tales with the world. In this episode, Jen shares what she has learned about these brothers and why you should read these stories ahead of time before story time with your littles.

Episode 34: The Baby Cage

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In this episode, we are joined by friend of the show Rachel Kuberry, who tells us all about the history of the baby cage and the historical importance of airing out babies. Why did these devices ever seem like a good idea and why did they fall out of fashion? And what are we still doing today that is essentially the modern equivalent?

Episode 33: The Dark Origins of Birth Control

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Birth control is ubiquitous in society today. It is so commonplace that we just refer to it as “the pill.” But have you ever wondered how that pill came to be? Like many medical advances, its history is much darker than you may imagine. The history of modern day birth control centers around the horribly unethical mistreatment of Latine people with a uterus in Puerto Rico. They don’t teach you this stuff in high school history.

Photo taken through a reinforced glass nursery window at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1969.

Episode 32: Hospital Nurseries

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Throughout visual media, there are countless examples of the big window looking over a room of newborn, swaddles babies. The hospital nursery is a sight that most people are familiar with, but has really only been around since the early 20th century. Jen presents her findings into why they were created, some fascinating inventions to make them better serve the hospital community, and why they have become less popular in recent years.

Shows an Asian mei tai style baby carrier

Episode 31: Baby Wearing

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If you are a 21st century mom you are probably familiar with the term baby wearing. It is very “in” right now, with wraps and carriers seen as not only functional, but also a fashion statement. Like many aspects of Western parenting, this practice is borrowed from other cultures with centuries-old traditions of baby carrying. Tune in to find out the interesting origins of your Baby Bjorn or Moby carrier.

Episode 30: Child Beauty Pageants

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Few things are as quintessentially American as child beauty pageants. And it turns out, they also originated from our home state of New Jersey! In this episode, Jen takes us back to the mid 1800’s to the beginning of the child beauty pageant craze. It goes through many evolutions until we get to the modern version and every step along the way is absolutely fascinating.

Episode 29: Infant Inclined Sleepers

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Note: Today’s episode contains some sensitive content related to infant deaths.  Please use caution when listening.

If you had asked me 2 years ago what an infant inclined sleeper is, I would have told you I had no idea.  If you had asked me if I knew what a Rock n Play was, I would have said of course!  It was the #1 must-have recommendation for my registry from all my mom friends.  I was told it would be a life saver.  A little over 2 weeks before my daughter was born, the Fisher Price Rock n Play was recalled, and linked to the deaths of many infants across the country.  How could this beloved product be the death trap the AAP claimed it to be?  And if so, how was it approved and sold to trusting moms and dads for nearly 10 years?  In this episode, we lay out the history of the Fisher Price Rock n Play infant inclined sleeper.  It is a devastating story of willful negligence of big businesses who put profits over safety, and the heartbreaking effect it had on unsuspecting families.

Episode 28: Spit

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Spit has seemingly endless examples of cultural significance throughout the world. It’s with that in mind, that Jen travelled down the spit in parenting rabbit hole. At times shocking and gross (especially in our Pandemic World), these traditions also have a primal, earthy beauty to them. Jen makes the case for the poetry and intimacy of spit.

Episode 27: Presidential Kids

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Growing up is hard enough when you’re just a regular kid. But can you imagine growing up at the most famous address in the country, while the whole world watches? On today’s episode, Diane tells us about all the Presidential kids who grew up in the White House throughout history. Then we take a closer look at 3 Presidents’ children and their time in the White House: the Bush twins (Barbara & Jenna), Obama’s daughters (Sasha & Malia), and Chelsea Clinton. Get ready for some tales of funny White House antics, intense scrutiny from the public, and what it entails to be the child of a US President.

Episode 26: The Baby Zoo

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In order to celebrate the end of this truly miserable year, we are sharing a story that is similarly upsetting. Jen presents her findings on the Dionne Quintuplets and the absolutely unbelievable series of events that befell them. From a wicker basket in a farm house in Ontario, to a clinical facility with a tourist viewing platform, all the way to Hollywood, these girls never caught a break. We’re sharing their story here because there is a lot to be learned from their lives especially in our modern world and the age of Kidfluencers. Children should not be commodified and few stories illustrate that as well as the Dionne Quintuplets.

Episode 25: Christmas Toy Riots

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Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit like an angry mob of customers fighting over a children’s toy. With the advent of online shopping, crazy store riots may seem like things of the past. So let’s take a trip down memory lane to the late 80s and mid-90s, when such events did occur around the holiday season. Specifically when it came to loving parents wanting to get their children the hot new toy of the season. Enter the Cabbage Patch Kids and the Tickle Me Elmo dolls. In this week’s episode, Diane tells us what made these toys so popular, and what lengths parents would go to in order to secure one to place under the tree. Buckle up, cause it is a wild ride!

Episode 24: Thanksgiving Masking

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If you live in America, you may be under the assumption that Halloween has always cornered the market on dressing up in costumes. But you would be wrong! From the late 1800s to the 1930s, Thanksgiving Masking was a standard way for children to celebrate on Thanksgiving morning. In this episode, Jen describes this strange custom and why it went out of favor. Get ready to shake your head with disapproval and be a bit offended.

Episode 23: Griswold v Connecticut

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You may be wondering why we are talking about a Supreme Court case on a show about the history of parenting, right? Well, we have the answer! The landmark Supreme Court decision in Connecticut vs. Griswold changed family life in America forever. We’ve all heard the term “family planning,” but believe it or not before the 1960s this idea was not nearly as widely known or accepted. So what happened in 1965 that spurred on this radical shift in thinking about the way we plan births and children? You’ll have to listen to find out!

Episode 22: Dr. William Smellie

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Every new mom can attest to the fact that babies, especially newborns, love to suck. Their fingers, their toes, a bottle, a breast, and for some babies even a pacifier. So today, we explore the history of that infamous object. Who invented the pacifier, when did it become popular, and why is it such a controversial soothing technique even to this day? This was a topic that led us down quite the rabbit hole. A very…ahem…”interesting” rabbit hole, to say the least! *Parents, we suggest listening to this episode when the kiddos aren’t around, because there is some content some may consider to be adult. Use your discretion.

Episode 21: Pacifiers

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Every new mom can attest to the fact that babies, especially newborns, love to suck. Their fingers, their toes, a bottle, a breast, and for some babies even a pacifier. So today, we explore the history of that infamous object. Who invented the pacifier, when did it become popular, and why is it such a controversial soothing technique even to this day? This was a topic that led us down quite the rabbit hole. A very…ahem…”interesting” rabbit hole, to say the least! *Parents, we suggest listening to this episode when the kiddos aren’t around, because there is some content some may consider to be adult. Use your discretion.

Episode 20: Infant Exposure

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2020 might not be the craziest year for the US Postal Service after all. Back in 1913, parcel post was introduced and in no time at all, people had started shipping all kinds of unexpected packages, including their children! Tune in to learn all about the children who traveled anywhere from 5 to over 700 miles across America through the USPS.

Episode 19: Maternity Clothes

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2020 might not be the craziest year for the US Postal Service after all. Back in 1913, parcel post was introduced and in no time at all, people had started shipping all kinds of unexpected packages, including their children! Tune in to learn all about the children who traveled anywhere from 5 to over 700 miles across America through the USPS.

Episode 18: Mailing Babies

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2020 might not be the craziest year for the US Postal Service after all. Back in 1913, parcel post was introduced and in no time at all, people had started shipping all kinds of unexpected packages, including their children! Tune in to learn all about the children who traveled anywhere from 5 to over 700 miles across America through the USPS.

Episode 17: Mom Shaming

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We’ve all heard the term “mom shaming,” but what does it really mean? And when did it begin? In reality, we are all probably guilty of playing a part in the mom shame game, often unintentionally. Let’s dive into the origins of this troubling trend, and how things like the Internet and parenting forums play an important role in perpetuating mom shaming.

Episode 16: The Family Vacation

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While the pandemic is keeping many of us from our usual summer plans, we thought we’d share some of the fascinating history of family vacations with you all. We’ll look at summer camps for children, family road trips, and the American family camp. Tons of wacky history to keep you feeling nostalgic while we get through this isolating time together.

Episode 15: The Prescience of Toys ‘R’ Us

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“I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid!” We all remember the jingle, and the excitement of stepping into a Toys ‘R’ Us in its heyday. With its rows and rows of toys, the possibilities were endless! And then we all watched as the behemoth of the toy industry crumbled, destroyed by the industry it created. How did Toys ‘R’ Us become such a giant, and what went wrong? Find out in today’s episode!

Episode 14: The Fabulous Patricia Carter

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Come join us for a side-splitting episode that looks at the life and times of Mrs. Patricia Carter, the original Free Birthing guru! Pat is a riot and we definitely wish she was still around for us to go out for drinks with. Although neither of us would hire her to be a doula or midwife for any future deliveries.

Episode 13: Baby Names

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This week, we have our very first guest host, Whitney from the How She Moms podcast! Whitney joins us to share her fascinating research into the history of baby names in America. She described some of the naming trends over time and some of the most bizarre names given to children here in the US.

Episode 12: The Baby Thief

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Ok everybody – buckle up. On this week’s episode we explore something a little sinister: babies being stolen from their mothers and sold on the black market by a woman you’ve probably never heard of. Until now. Cue today’s topic, the woman of the hour: Georgia Tann. Who is this woman, and how did she get away with this horrible scheme for so long? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Episode 11: The Little Albert Experiment

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John B. Watson and his infamous Little Albert Experiment may be little more than a footnote in the history of parenting and childrearing. But they are a fascinating and important one. Jen presents her research into the psychologist she most loves to hate and the occasional silver linings of his very disturbing legacy.

Episode 10: Parenting Advice

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Have you ever tried to find the perfect book to help you cope with the shear terror that is parenthood. Yeah, we’ve been there, too! In this episode, Diane takes us through the many different eras and styles of parenting advice books. We’re pretty sure there isn’t a perfect book out there with advice to suit any child, but we can say with some certainty that we found a few candidates for the worst parenting advice books!

Bonus Episode: OPDW Live – Fairy Tale Cannibals

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It’s our first ever live episode! Listen in as Jen and Diane host this special bonus episode on Instagram Live. The ladies go over some of the most famous and beloved fairytales from their childhood, specifically the ones that feature cannibalism. Yum!

Episode 9: Nickelodeon

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Ah, the sweet memories of running home after school to catch your favorite cartoon on what may be the most iconic children’s television network of all time: Nickelodeon. In today’s episode, Jen & Diane dig into the history of non-educational children’s entertainment to find out where it all started. Come relive your childhood (or your children’s childhoods) on an exciting adventure exploring all things Nickelodeon, from Rugrats to All That to Doug!

Episode 8: Pox Parties

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This week, we’re taking a look at a slightly more recent practice: the pox party! There are plenty of people alive today who have been to one. Jen gives some history on pox parties, their modern day equivalents, and some unintended “pox parties” happening during the coronavirus pandemic!

Episode 7: The Incubator Babies of Coney Island

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It’s hard to imagine there was ever a time in our history when we lacked the tiny incubators designed for premature babies that we see in the NICU nowadays. We have a man named Dr. Couney and his turn of the century amusement park side-shows to thank for these life-saving machines. But who was Dr. Couney, and was he actually even a doctor? In this episode we explore the man behind the modern-day NICU staple, and how he saved thousands of babies from certain death.

Episode 6: Knucklebones

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Jen set out to provide a brief history into children’s toys, but quick discovered what a foolish plan that had been. The wealth of information on any one toy is astounding! So Jen dug into one of the most foundational children’s games – knucklebones. Listen in to learn about this game and where the name comes from. And in our listener story segment, “Your Parents Did What?!” we share some sweet, fascinating, and creepy tales from some of our favorite listeners.

Episode 5: The Tooth Fairy

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Of all the mythical figures we know and love, the Tooth Fairy seems to have the most elusive backstory. Where did she come from, and why the heck do we put our teeth under our pillows for her to find?! Thankfully, a woman named Rosemary Wells made it her mission to track the source of all things related to the Tooth Fairy. And surprisingly, it all started with a French mouse. Intrigued?? We were, too.

Episode 4: Clothing

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Run Time: 32 minutes, 23 seconds The history of children’s clothing leads Jen and Diane to some unexpected places. They learn about the practice of breaching and how fashion was used as a way to show male dominance. Jen also tries her best to adequately describe skeleton suits and creeping aprons, because their names aren’t […]

Episode 3: Diapers

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Run Time: 30 minutes, 7 seconds Diapers as we know them today are a fairly new commodity in the grand scheme of the history of parenting. But, before Pampers and Huggies, our ancestors used some pretty crazy materials to diaper their babies. Wood shavings and moss, anyone? Tune in to this episode to learn more! […]

Episode 2: Baby Food

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Run Time: 37 minutes, 10 seconds Peas, and apples, and carrots, oh my! When did baby food become commercialized, and what on earth is dessert baby food?? We cover this, and so much more, on this week’s episode! Join us as we explore the history of baby food, and how it came to be the […]

Episode 1: Car Seats

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Run Time: 31 minutes, 36 seconds Have you ever heard of the Tot Guard? We hadn’t, either! Until we took a deep dive into the history of car seats. In this episode, we go way back to the 1930’s and follow the evolution of car safety for babies and children. You’ll be both fascinated and […]