Moms produce videos that demystify parental grunt work
MIKE BOONE, The Gazette
Friday, October 05, 2007
To the few, the proud, the language sticklers, “parenting” is a cringe-inducing verb.
But to paraphrase a cigarette ad from back in the day when people spoke
properly (and smoked blithely): What do you want? Good grammar or useful
Lianne Castelino and Andrea Howick met 10 years ago. They were reporters
at what was then CFCF-12, where Howick covered news and Castelino was
in the sports department. Their friendship blossomed as each began a
Castelino gave birth to the first of her three children in 1997. Howick became a mother in 2001.
They faced the challenges of all new parents. And there was no shortage of guidance available in bookstores.
Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care was published in 1946. The
world’s best-known how-to book (Okay, you could make a case for the
Bible) is in its eighth edition and has sold more than 50 million copies
in 40 languages.
Generations of children have been raised by the book. But Howick and
Castelino saw potential for child care advice aimed at parents for whom
the name “Spock” conjured up images of a Mr. with big ears, rather than a
Dr. with liberal ideas.
“We thought there was a need to help new and expectant parents with
information in a video format,” Castelino said. “There are tons of books
out there, but we couldn’t find any videos that were of the quality we
We were chatting in a conference call. Castelino, a 38-year-old native
of Toronto, moved back there in June after 14 years here. Howick, who’s
36 and had her third son two months ago, lives in Notre Dame de Grâce
and does a child-care segment on the Global TV morning show.
“We love books,” Howick said, “and we’ve got them all. But as electronic
media people, we’re visual. We’re kind of quick and to the point, and
we know that’s how mothers’ brains work.”
Castelino and Howick decided to collaborate on a video. It’s called
Bringing Baby Home, and the DVD covers a lot of ground – 120 topics in
Fasten your seat belt and your nursing bra. That pace makes the 6 o’clock news look like a Ken Burns documentary.
Howick cited diapering a newborn as a technique “you can learn in 30
seconds or less” – or, if you’re a fumble-fingered male, 30 months or
They’ve produced a second DVD on nutrition for babies and toddlers.
“It speaks right to the whole issue of childhood obesity,” Castelino
said. “This is something we both want to help alleviate over time, in
our own little way.”
Their newest project is Parent Talk. Launched on Mother’s Day, the
60-minute radio program features experts and celebrities talking about
the latest child-care news and, Howick said, “the most basic parenting
grunt work we all have questions about.”
“For example, this week’s show has a pediatrician talking about what to
do if a child in your son or daughter’s class has a case of head lice.”
Eeeeew! Change schools.
“Yeah,” Castelino said with a laugh, “run for your life and don’t look back.”
There’s also a nutrition segment because, Howick explained, mothers are
preoccupied by what, when and how much their children eat.
Another feature this week (Sunday at noon on AM 940) is Olympic rower Silken Laumann talking about balancing work and family.
“We run the gamut from babies up to teens,” Castelino said. “We’ve had experts on behaviour, how to streetproof a child.”
That’s another unfortunate contemporary usage. Some of us can remember streets against which you didn’t have to be proofed.
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007
Published by:MIKE BOONE