Bravo To The Silence Breakers!

 

In an absolutely wonderful and powerful move yesterday Time Magazine unveiled it’s 2017 person of the year and stunned the country by crowning the notable women who have set off a national reckoning by speaking up and naming names of men who have abused their power and sexually harassed and/or assaulted them.

They have indeed broken the silence on a very rampant and hidden culture in all different parts of the society. This honor does much to extend this now very loud national conversation and and hopeful leads to the setting of a new standard for acceptable behavior. Ultimately, validating the Silence Breakers is awesome for us, awesome for the future men you and friends are raising, and especially awesome for our girls.

In other news, this week is Hour of Code week! If you are not familiar, It is a global movement to introduce people of all ages to computer programming in a fun way. All you have do to is commit to an hour of fun. We have recommended the best resources in this week’s newsletter to help you get started.

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2017 Holiday Guide: 50 Smart Gifts Ideas For Your Smart Girls!

For Your Artsy/Craftsy Smart Girl

Ages 3-7

Crayola Magic Scene Creator ($27.65)

Watch your kids create amazing things using The Crayola Magic Scene Creator and their imagination! Your child can create an amazing scene and watch it come to life utilizing the gel FX markers and adding action cards. We love how easily this toy wipes clean easily, is incredibly portable, and can be used over and over to create wonderful scenes! Your child’s imagination come to life!

Buy from: Crayola

 

Ages 8+

3Doodler Start Essentials 3D Printing Pen Set ($46.60)

A toy that truly amazes us with all the possibilities! Your child can literally draw something out of thin air. The 3Doodler is a kid-friendly 3D printing pen that rapidly melts plastic, which quickly cools and hardens. Your child can create anything they can imagine.

Buy from: 3Doodler

 

Ages 7-12

ALEX Toys Craft My First Sewing Kit ($35.00)

Do you remember your first sewing kit? We certainly remember ours, and the time we spent making stuffed animals, pillows, and other adorable items. The My First Sewing Kit will encourage your child to create anything they can imagine sewing. The kit travels well with its secure handle, and has a great amount of supplies to get your child creating great things.

Buy from: ALEX Toys

 

Ages 3 & up

Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Made Easy Activity Kit (12.99)

Let your little artist create the most beautiful of stained glass art projects! We love this item, as your child can create a project to keep and display at home or one to share with someone as a gift. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. Your child will hone those fine motor skills, build concentration, and learn the importance of following directions, all while creating something gorgeous. Fun, and easy to do, this gift idea is a winner in our book.

Buy from: Melissa & Doug

 

Ages 8 & up

Spirograph Deluxe Design Set ($24.99)

We love Spirograph as a kid, and now our kids can love it too! Easy-to-use stencils and pens help your child create unique works of art every single time they use it. A great toy for parents and kids to play with together. Kids are easily inspired as they see immediate results with this great artistic toy.

Buy from: Kahootz

 

Ages 4 & up

Creativity for Kids Create Your Own 3 Bitty Books ($10.00)

Inspire your budding author with this great 3 Bitty Books Set. Your child acts as both author and illustrator to fully connect to their creativity. You will love reading the books they create together. Each set comes with 6 markers, plenty of color-in stickers, one book holder, and three quality blank books for your child to fill. Kids can create stories about their lives, their family, or just make something new up completely from their imagination! You will treasure this gem for years to come!

Buy from: Creativity for Kids

 

For Your Tech Savvy Smart Girl

Ages 8 & up

Cra-Z-Art SoundMoovz Musical Bandz ($39.00)

Give your child the gift of their own personal dance party at any given moment! SoundMoovz, by Cra-Z-Art, is a motion-activated device your child wears on their wrist. All you need to do is download the accompanying app, pair the device with Bluetooth, and download up to 400 songs. The wristband activates and plays music for your child to dance to. With two bands, this item is great for multiple users.

Buy from: Cra-Z-Art

 

Ages 3 & up

Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game ($29.74)

 

We love Bloxels, and and you will too! Your child can use their imagination to create their very own personalized video game! Everything from the story, characters, and even the configuration is all up to the designer, your imaginative child. Once done creating, you child can play and SHARE their video game with fellow gamers.

Buy from: Mattel

 

Ages 5-12

Osmo Genius Kit ($67.99)

Osmo Genius Kit includes five games for kids to work on drawing, math, words, and visual challenges. Osmo works with the iPad and responds to your child as it sees what they are working on. It will encourage, provide guidance and even laugh. Your child will have hours of fun with this creative genius. Works with iPad Pro 9.7 inch, all iPad Mini, all iPad Air, all iPad 2 & up. *INCLUDES THE OSMO BASE

Buy from: Osmo

 

Ages 8 & up

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit ($19.99)

What better way to learn about electronics than through this hands-on creative system! Elenco Electronics Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 has over 30 color-coded circuit components that kids can snap together to create working circuitry! It comes with a guide containing 101 do-it-yourself projects, or your child can create their own project. We love toys like this that are both entertaining and educational!

Buy from: Elenco

 

Ages 8 & up

MudWatt STEM Kit ($36.95)

Behold the power of MUD! Did you know there are electricity-generating microbes in our soil? Well your child will learn about that and so much more with MudWatt STEM Kit. Kids perform experiments on food and different types of soil to measure power, track microbe growth, and unlock a comic book. Believe it or not, your child may even be able to power a digital clock by using the microbes. The educational value of this is immeasurable.

Buy from: Magical Microbes

 

Ages 3 & up

 

For Your Maker/Creator Smart Girl

Num Noms Lipgloss Truck Craft Kit ($26.49)

Tis the season for chapped lips. Have no fear, your kids will be mixing up great tasting lip gloss with the Num Noms Lipgloss Truck. All the ingredients are included, just add to the truck and watch your child create the next best lipgloss. You can even take it with you! Kit includes 1 Lip gloss base, 2 Lip gloss flavors (cherry and vanilla), 1 pack glitter sprinkles, 1 cupcake making tool with cherry spatula, 1 special edition, scented num: cherry scoop, 3 lip gloss sundae containers.

Buy from: Num Noms

 

Ages 6 & up

ALEX Toys Craft Knot A Quilt ($20.44)

Do you remember making knot quilts? So much fun, and easy to make, the ALEX Toys Craft Knot a Quilt Kit helps your child create a beautiful quilt. No cutting, sewing, or knitting needed, just tie the pre-cut squares one by one. Spark your child’s interest in quilting, and create beautiful items together.

Buy from: ALEX Toys

 

Ages 6 & up

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics: Jewelry Box ($19.88)

Every girl loves a great jewelry box for her treasures. The ORB Factory Sticky Mosaics: Jewelry Box encourages your little one to use her imagination to create the most beautiful box she can imagine. The kit includes over 1000 sticky tiles, foil tiles, and jewels. Easy to follow instructions and a gorgeous butterfly designed template make this one too great to pass up. Your child will love creating a beautiful jewelry box of her very own. Box is made of sturdy cardboard and measures 4″ H x 8″ W x 6″ D

Buy from: The Orb Factory

 

 

Ages 8 & up

Magnetic Mini Tile Art ($10.60)

Arts and crafts are taken to a new level with 4M Magnetic Tile Art Set. Your child can create original works of art and attach them to magnets. Great for displaying on the fridge, or any metal surface. A great gift for the child who may want to make something special for a loved one as well. The tiles measure 2-inches by 2-inches. It is the perfect way to create and display your child’s gorgeous works of art.

Buy from: 4M

 

For Your Imaginative/Pretend Play Smart Girl

 

Ages 6 & up

LIMITED EDITION GLITTER SERIES Ball LOL Series 1 L. O. L. ($27.33)

 

We love these L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, because who doesn’t love a surprise! Let your child unwrap layer by layer to reveal a new surprise. At the end, your little one has a new doll with a great outfit, and plenty of sparkle! The little surprise that will get a big reaction from your little girl.

Buy from: L.O.L. Surprise!

 

Ages 3 & up

Baby Alive Sweet Tears Baby ($53.59)

Get your baby a realistic baby of her own. Baby Alive is as close to a real baby as you can imagine. Teach your little one how to nurture her own baby through caring for this sweet baby. She will feed, diaper, and care for this little one as you cared for her as a baby. Nothing sweeter than seeing our babies be good little mamas to their Baby Alive.

Buy from: Baby Alive

 

Ages 5 & up

Dance Code featuring Disney Princess Belle- Amazon Exclusive ($99.99)

Interactive Princess Belle will have your daughter dancing alongside her every step of the way. Belle can programmed by your child to follow a specific dance routine, or you can utilize one of the 10 pre-programmed lessons so your child can learn some new moves of her own. Princess Belle is programmed with 100 phrases, 7 songs, and your child can dance and twirl along with her favorite princess. Just download the accompanying app and your child can program her very own dance routine for Belle, and herself. A great toy for girls to be inspired through dance!

Buy from: Disney Princess

 

Ages 2-5 

Little Tikes Waffle Blocks Steam Train ($44.76)

All aboard! Little Tikes Waffle Blocks Steam Train lets your child create a train, station, and track all by stacking, locking and building with this set. Your child becomes the conductor of their new world. If they can imagine it, they can create it. Hours of fun can be had with this set, we love it, and so will you!

Buy from: Little Tikes

 

Ages 3 & up 

Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk ($29.99)

Every little girl has dreamed of being princess for a day. With this Disney Princess Royal Dress-Up Trunk your little princess can be a new princess every day. The beautiful trunk works great as storage for all your little one’s princess wear. She can be Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Plus, it comes with matching accessories, because no princess is complete without some bling.

Buy from: Disney Princess

 

For Your Building/Constructing Smart Girl

 

Ages 3 & up

LEGO DC Super Hero Girls Wonder Woman ($15.99)

LEGO knows how to keep girls happy! The DC Superhero Girls Wonder Woman Set can stand alone or connect to the Super Hero High School Set. Wonder Woman and her lasso will empower your girl with the power to protect everyone from Kryptonite. Your little one will feel like she is the superhero with this awesome LEGO set.

Buy from: LEGO

 

Ages 8 & up

KLUTZ LEGO Make Your Own Movie Kit ($21.81)

 

The LEGO Make Your Own Movie Kit turns your little one into a producer/director. By using a phone, tablet, or computer, your child can create mini-movies with easy-to-follow instructions. As your child advances they can manipulate things like lighting, sound effects, and camera angles. Your little one will soon be creating smash hits for the family to enjoy.

Buy from: Klutz

 

Ages 8 & up

Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit ($21.32)

The LEGO Chain Reaction Kit takes your child’s ordinary LEGO blocks and turns them into machines that make different reactions. Perhaps your child wants to make a machine to deliver a message, or play with the dog; the LEGO Chain Reaction Kit makes it happen. Your child can create dozens of different reactions.

Ages 8 & up

LEGO Friends Snow Resort Ski Lift ($84.89)

 

The LEGO Friends Snow Resort Ski Lift Set is all kinds of wintery fun! It is filled with activities from skiing to rock climbing, and your child can build alone or with a friend. The set contains mini-doll figures, a bear cub, and a whole bunch of fun! The set can be combined with the LEGO Friends Snow Resort Ice Rink and Snow Resort Ice Chalet for even more fun! We love this set because it helps our kids enjoy the winter season in a whole new way.

Buy from: LEGO

 

Ages 7-12

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit ($159.95)

LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox is an amazing toy for this season! All you have to do is download the accompanying app and your child is on her way. The step-by-step instructions will have your child building their very own Vernie the Robot. He moves, talks, and has 4 different tool attachments. You can also build Frankie the Cat, your very own interactive cat, without the mess of a real cat. Also possible is Auto Builder and automatic production line that creates miniature LEGO models. Please go to LEGO.com/DeviceCheck for a list of all compatible devices.

Buy from: LEGO

 

For Your Physically Active Smart Girl

 

Ages 3-7

Skywalker Trampolines Round Bouncer Trampoline ($53.04)

Everyone loves a good bounce session, and the Skywalker Trampoline is the best around. The Skywalker company takes pride in their safety features and their ability to provide safe environments for your child. You can feel safe with your child bouncing around in one of these trampolines, and they will love it!

Buy from: Skywalker

 

Ages 3 & up

The Original PlasmaCar ($63.99)

We love this old-school PlasmaCar! It is powered strictly by your child’s energy; no batteries, no pedals, no gears. Just pure wiggle and fun. Your child steers and navigates on sidewalks, driveways, and any smooth, flat surface they can find. A great toy, that requires nothing more than some pure energy.

Buy from: PlasmaCar

 

Ages 3 & up 

Mercedes Benz E550 6V ($156.60)

Let your little one cruise around in style, with this Mercedes Benz E550 Ride On. It moves forward, reverse, and tops out at 2.5MpH. It comes equipped with a 6V rechargeable battery. Your child will love the smooth ride, and easy steering.

Buy from: Kid Motorz

 

Ages 2-5

Chillafish BMXie-RS: BMX Balance Bike with Airless RubberSkin Tires ($60.00)

The Chillafish BMXie -RS takes on the BMX style with a lightweight frame which is strong and durable. The balance bike has tires that give great grip and do not require inflating. The bike is adjustable to grow with your child, and stores easily. It is brightly colored, and attractive to kids. Your child will love cruising around on this bike.

Buy from: Chillafish

 

Ages 8 & up

RipStik Brights Caster Board ($55.99)

The Ripstick Caster Board is one fun twist and go toy. The deck pivots and the casters move 360 degrees. Vibrant colors will make your child stand out with this toy, and they will love the ride. Create a feeling of snowboarding or wakeboarding with this amazing design.

Buy from: Razor

 

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What Is Your Daughter Teaching You About Yourself?

On Monday, my baby girl turns 3 years old. I have been busy planning her little celebration and reflecting on how much she has grown in the last year. She has truly found her voice and is not afraid to use it. She is extremely decisive, strong-minded, independent, and cheeky. I am both proud of the fire in her heart and terrified for what those teenage years might be like.

It a pretty common headline these days to find an article with a letter addressed to your younger self. With my youngest daughter, Ari, I feel like I am looking right at my younger self. She reminds me that is ok to be multidimensional; to be both tough and delicate; smart and playful; sugar and spice.

Sometimes we hate to admit it but the very thing the drives us mad about our girls are traits that define our own adult lives as well.

What is your daughter teaching you about yourself?

PS: It’s almost here! Look out for this year’s holiday gift guide in next week’s newsletter.

img credit: Quote

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Hello, November!

image credit

Can you believe it is November already?

Turkey, Black Friday, Holiday Shopping, Christmas Carols are all rapidly approaching. We are hard at work at our now 3rd annual Gift Guide to help you pick out smart and fun gifts for all the smart girls on your list. In the meantime, enjoy the fall weather and start warming up for the most wonderful time of the year!

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Yeah, me too.

This past week has been so heavy with the breaking news of rampant sexual harassment in Hollywood. I have read many of the accounts from several of the brave women stepping up to tell their stories.

Lupita Nyongo’s account published in the Wall Street Journal really struck a cord with me for two reason. First, her heartbreaking reason for not speaking up until now: “…I also did not know that there was a world in which anybody would care about my experience with him. You see, I was entering into a community that Harvey Weinstein had been in, and even shaped, long before I got there.”

And the powerful reason she thinks she has not had this negative experience with anyone else in her career since Weinstein: “… I think it is because all the projects I have been a part of have had women in positions of power, along with men who are feminists in their own right who have not abused their power.”

Womanhood desperately needs a culture of story telling and sharing. Too many of us secretly endure pain, hide scars, and smile hard. I can’t help but think this begins at home.

What stories did our mother tell us? What stories will we tell our girls? How will we prepare them for what is ahead?  “Half of all American women—54%—have experienced “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances” at some point in their lives. Nearly a third have endured such behavior from male colleagues and a quarter identified men with sway over their careers as the culprits.” 

We need to be intentional about sharing our experiences and telling the stories about those hard worn scars. Because you have been there, your wisdom could light up the path to avoiding the same heartache for your daughter, your sister, your friend, maybe even a stranger.

Connecting through shared experiences, however awful the memories, is a beautiful way to lean on each other. EVEN IF all you are able to do is raise your hand and say, #metoo.

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Parts Known: Remembering Lagos

image credit: pinterest

They say environment matters when it comes to raising kids. Watching Anthony Bourdain’s reporting on Lagos, Nigeria on his show, Parts Unknown, earlier this week, I couldn’t be more proud of the environment that I was raised in. Where an untrained eye might only see the dust and grime of busy bustling Lagos, I was reminded of the grit and stubborn optimism that characterizes the Nigerian spirit. In Lagos, where there is a will there is a way indeed and everything around you sets that hope ablaze.

Bourdain summarizes his experience this way: “The government ain’t going to do it for you. Nobody is going to do it for you. It’s very much do-it-yourself place that inspires a real innovative spirit that’s quite extraordinary particularly in the tech sector. You know, you see kids from the countryside who never finished high school. Who with their own tools in the street will pull apart your iPhone and put it back together. It’s an extraordinary thing.”

Of course this way of life is not without it’s flaws. Sometimes it gives birth to strong individuals that think about their wellbeing over the communal one as it is largely the case with Nigeria.

However, the positives are undeniable and I found myself thinking and hoping I can pass on the joys of the Nigerian spirit to my kids who are growing up many miles away from those brutal, exuberant, dusty, hopeful Lagos streets.

In trying to deconstruct my experience, I am reminded of the independence I enjoyed as early as 5yrs old to explore and contribute to my household in meaningful ways; The rigor of my education and the heavy expectations my parents placed on me to be engaged and successful in my learning; The love and pride with which my community celebrated every bit of success I had while simultaneously reminding me not to be complacent;  Lastly, the magic was in the way every adult in my community took their role in co-raising me seriously. They did not let me off the hook when my parents weren’t watching and they took the time to tell me stories and teach me life lessons that only come with experience.

It was a wonderful way to grow up and the person I am because of it, is a wonderful way to be. It will be my joy to share to extend these gifts to my girls.

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On Passion Hustles and Raising Smart Girls

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to showcase Raising Smart Girls to over 200 girls at the Empowherment Summit, an event sponsored by a local girls empowerment organization.

It was WONDERFUL!

I really wanted to use the opportunity to engage the girls in a way that is meaningful and consistent with our mission. So we gave the  girls that visited our booth an opportunity to create their own lip gloss and learn about the chemistry of lip balms.

It was a hit! I really loved watching the girls light up as they learned what they were going to be doing. It validated our hypothesis that girls love STEM learning if it can be presented in a meaningful and relatable manner. We had over 50 girls indicate interest in a girls only STEM Maker club where we would teach them how to make more things they care about. Needless to say, I left that day feeling energized about this passion hustle of mine. It reminded me that this work is meaningful and many other people care about these same outcomes I am passionate about.

It has been a struggle to get content out and manage my transition into my new role at work. However, you are never far from my mind Smart Mommies. I am constantly reading and learning things that I think you might find useful and I am always so eager to share.

My dear friends who served as my team at the summit were absolutely wonderful; They both inspired and honored me with their commitment and service. They were so perfect in their support that I was able to fully focus on telling our story as passionately as I could to every family that walked up. It felt great to be so well supported and reminded me to seek help more often.

So I would like to ask you too, Smartmommy. Can you help?

I have a passion for enriching the way girls learn. My goal is to do this by empowering parents (i.e this newsletter), redesigning and customizing learning content with girls in mind and by surrounding our girls with a supportive community.

Do you have ideas to contribute? Do you work in Education? Are you a writer or editor? Are you a visual artist or graphic designer? Not sure how you can help but would love to? Please please reach out.

I am eager to hear from you!!

Photo credits to my super talented friend Ama @EbeleEdmund

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Happy New School Year!

img credit blog.whiterabbitstudio.fr

 

Heyyyyyyyy Smartmommies!

Summer is over and we are back to regular programming! Hope you’ve missed us as much as we’ve missed you and hope you had a great summer! I’ll share the highlights from our summer next week.

In the meantime, we pray your girls are settling into school nicely and that they shine brighter than diamonds this year.

Truly, we are looking forward to partnering with you again this school year in raising your smart girls!  

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Try Your Wings

Do you remember the first time you truly felt independent? Grown?

For me, it was the moment I got the keys to my first apartment. I was trying to avoid traffic the other day and had to drive the apartment complex; It was quite nostalgic. I vividly remember falling in love with that apartment and everything about my newly minted independence. I was so excited about everything; paying bills, furniture shopping, and making the space my own. I felt a beautiful strength.

When was the first moment you felt independent?

Now when was the last time you allowed your self to feel that again. After that first step of growth that usually signals the beginning of adulthood, it is easy to tether ourselves, and we usually do, to what feels safe and predictable. The reality is there are many more moments to embrace new opportunities and experiences. Remember the joy of finding your independent self that first time and try your wings again.

Happy Independence day weekend friends!

Ps: Would love you hear about your first and pivotal moment of growth and independence. Leave a comment!

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Wonder Mommy vs. Wonder Woman

 

                                                      Credit to SatrunTwinsArtShop on Esty. Visit the store to buy this poster.

 

“Let’s get daddy to help us fix it!” That was T’s immediate solution to the problem of her bike handle coming loose. Normally, I would say just say ok but that day I actually asked why she didn’t think to ask if I could do it. Her honest response caught me off guard.

“Because I have never seen you fix anythingggg.”

Wait, what???

It took me a minute to realize that she was probably right. While in my head, I was wonder woman (in full costume) — to her, I was just wonder mommy; the one who makes sure we all eat, sleep and generally stay merry. How could she possibly understand the amount of work and love it takes to run a household and that her dad and I work together as a team? How is she supposed to know that it is in fact laziness and not incompetence that makes me leave most of the fixing related tasks to her dad?

Outside of our home, I am usually conscious about her experiences with gender roles but I hadn’t thought to consider what she was subliminally learning from my own role in our home.

The truth is, growing up in a dual working parent home, she is only privy to a few short hours each day before she goes to sleep and weekends with me. This is clearly not a lot of time for her to really experience the fullness of my essence as a woman.

I actually remember struggling with this with my own mom. As a teenager, I longed to crack the code on who else my mom was outside of being my mom. I imagined her in red pumps and dressed up in much fancier clothes than her nursing scrubs. And when I didn’t discover a more “exciting” side of her, I almost resented her for not being more. Little did I know that there were indeed many dimensions to the beautiful woman she was then and still is now.

And now I see how without being intentional about it, the singular dimension of me that my girls experience most of the time could shape the kind of woman they think they can be or have to be. As they get older, it is imperative that we spend time really getting to know each other, trading stories and actively growing together.

For now, anytime there is a “perfect for daddy” assignment like rescuing us from an intruding bug or fixing something broken, I think twice about not taking it on. Worse than my daughter thinking that I cant do it, is her not even thinking to try for herself.

There are so many things our daughters are learning from us when we are not saying a word. The research about the linkage between your body image and your daughters that I share in this week’s roundup is further proof.

Pay close attention, Smart Mommies!

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P.s.: Also speaking of representation, the new Wonder Woman movie is doing a lot to empower young girls. These kindergarteners had some interesting takeaways.

P.s.s: Cheers to these amazing #smartgirls that have been in the news lately! Bozoma Saint John, Yuma Soerianto, Masako Wakamiya.

P.s.s.s: About our lemonade stand, a more detailed update to come later but here is a quick one — we haven’t had a real go at it yet. We got rained out on our debut day and we haven’t decided on another good weekend to try yet. Stay Tuned!

P.s.s.s.s: Lastly, happy father’s day weekend to all the dad’s keeping the bar high for their daughters on what a good man looks like. We see you, #SmartDads!

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