Your kid can tell when you're faking this, choosing healthy seafood, how dirty is that swimming pool?
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Your little kid can tell when you fake a smile

Real smiles make your face crinkle up around the eyes, while fake smiles are more limited to the mouth area. Most of us adults have figured that out by now, but what you might not realize is that even your 4-year-old can tell when you're faking.

A recent study of children's perceptions of smiles shows that the ability to tell real from fake smiles improves greatly between ages 2 and 4. 3-year-olds prefer to look at real smiles, and around 4 children become able to explicitly label real vs. fake. By the time they're older toddlers, aged 4 and 5, children even begin to expect real smilers to be more prosocial (altruistic, cooperative, etc). 

Super interesting, but what do these findings mean for you as a parent? Well, if you're extremely tired/stressed/burned out then you are probably not going to be able to hide that from your child for long. They will see through your forced smiles and expect you to be less giving on account of it. 

Any one occasion of being less-than-fully-present is not going to scar your child for life. If you're occasionally having a hard time, you can just tell them that (in an age-appropriate way that doesn't seem scary). But if you're chronically having a hard time, it's really important to get the help you need. Putting on a happy face for your kid's sake is not a time when you can fake it until you make it.

Choosing healthy seafood

We're heard it once, we've heard it a million times — fish is good for you. But not all fish are created equal in this way, and you may want to get the maximum nutrition bang for your buck (especially if you're not a huge fan of the taste). 

The main seafood considerations you might care about are: omega-3 content, mercury content, and sustainability (not to mention price). To make a long story short, some notable favorites — tilapia, shrimp, catfish, scallops — don't actually contain many omega-3 (good) fats. Mercury mostly concentrates in big fish high up the food chain: king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, and ahi tuna, for instance. 

To balance omega-3 and mercury considerations, consider choosing salmon, trout, oysters, herring , sardines, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel. If you can afford to take sustainability into account too, look for sustainability information on the package or check out your store's policies (Whole Foods has a fish sustainability policy, for instance). 

Still, since the average American eats less than 3oz of seafood per week when more like 8oz is recommended, whatever strikes your fancy is a fine place to start (unless it's deep-fried calamari). Even fish that aren't high in omega-3s can add lean protein and variety to your family's diet.

Swimming pools are full of pee, but it doesn't really matter

With summer just around the corner, everyone is looking forward to getting back in the pool — everyone except the unlucky souls who recently stumbled across this headline, that is: "Study: 8 Gallons Of Pee In An Average Public Pool.

Basically some chemists found a way to infer how much swimmers pee in pools by measuring how much of a common artificial sweetener is in the water. Since this sweetener, acesulfame potassium, passes right through the human body but doesn't occur naturally, any amount of it found in the pool had to have come from pee.

Urine irritates skin when it's concentrated and in prolonged contact with damp body parts, not when it occurs in (relatively) tiny amounts in a controlled pool environment. Adding chlorine to the pool can't take the pee away, and chlorine theoretically reacts with urine to create toxic chemicals. But byproduct chemicals in pools haven't been proven to be dangerous, and non-professional swimmers spend relatively little time in the water anyways.

Of course, everyone should refrain from peeing in the pool as a matter of etiquette and (marginal) safety. But I wouldn't let this little bit of already-obvious science put a damper on your summer fun. Just try not to think about it. 

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Did you miss the weekend issue? Click here to check it out

Questions or suggestion? Just hit reply — I read and respond to every message. 

See you next time, 
Pamela @ Just the Facts, Mom

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