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The most important lesson I've learned this holiday season is that life is as precious as it is fragile.

This thought entered into my head as I stood tiptoe upon an unsteady ladder next to our enormous evergreen tree, my sweaty outstretched hand shakily clutching a paint roller extension pole duct-taped to a steel blade rake, swatting at a string of Christmas lights dangling two feet above my head.

A friends of mine who is due to give birth to a girl later this month recently told me she and her husband had finally agreed on a name for their precious bundle of joy. And that they had made it up.

Welcome to Mom's Happy Hour, in which we sort through the latest news about parents, parenting and pop culture so you don't have to. And then we add a little bit of snark and a whole lot of judgment.

Stockings are a death trap

With the holidays upon us, it’s time to weed out all the dangerous toys from our children’s shopping lists and replace them with cotton balls (no wait, they can swallow them!) and feather pillows (no wait – allergies!). The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has released its “Trouble in Toyland” report featuring toys equivalent to a Bag o’ Glass. A number of products like Littlest Pet Shop sets are mislabeled and can offer up choking hazards while the Captain America Soft Shield has 29 times the legal standard for lead. For a list of harmful toys, check out the full report.

Your son is by far the smelliest

In the movie Big Daddy, Adam Sandler is honored to hear his kid is the smelliest in the class. In real-life, a preschool teacher in New York is under fire for sending home a note to all of her parents

Each year, more than 900 young people suffering from the emotional and psychological damage of abuse, neglect and other traumas find an open door and a helping hand at Marygrove, the second largest residential treatment facility in Missouri

For many of these children, Marygrove is the last stop in a series of foster homes, residential facilities and hospitals, but one that offers a stable environment in a time of fear and confusion.

If you plan to take on the holiday shopping crowds this Friday and are looking for fun child care options for your kids, several St. Louis organizations are offering special Black Friday events that will keep your kids entertained while you get down to business! At each of these options, you can drop off your kids as you head to the stores and rest assured they're having a blast while you tackle your gift list.

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