Three weeks ago, I gave birth to a baby. After a long and sometimes challenging pregnancy where I was nervous a lot of the time, I am both relieved to hold a healthy boy in my arms and totally smitten with him.
We joke around here — and now I’m on record in the New York Times saying it — that Arjun is my firstborn child, but my second baby. My first baby is Piazza, the strapping three-year-old company I founded in 2009. My husband Shyam is an early employee at Palantir, so Arjun is kind of his second baby, too. It should sound weird to talk about our flesh-and-blood baby as the little brother of a couple of start-up companies, but work with me here for a minute, because amidst all of the recent discussionaboutwhetherwomencanhave it all, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a start-up CEO with a newborn, because that’s apparently pretty rare. In the hope that it will become more common, I wanted to share my experiences so far.
Biggest all-time caveat: I want to say that so far — and I’m almost scared to type this — Arjun has been healthy. We’re extremely grateful for that, and I don’t think anything I say below would apply if that weren’t true. Also, of course, I’m only three weeks into motherhood. I may do things totally differently in a few weeks. But here’s the view from Week 3.
The number of U.S. children in foster care has dropped for the sixth straight year, falling to about 400,000 compared to more than 520,000 a decade ago, according to new federal figures demonstrating the staying power of reforms even amid economic turbulence.
The drop results primarily from a shift in the policies and practices of state and county child welfare agencies. Many have shortened stays in foster care, expedited adoptions and expanded preventive support for troubled families so more children avoid being removed from home in the first place.
The average length of stay in foster care has been reduced by more than 10 percent since 2002, according to the report. The mean stay is now 23.7 months.
Of the children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 52 percent were boys. Twenty-one percent were Hispanic, 27 percent black and 41 percent white; 104,236 of them were available for adoption.
Early in the second season of “The Andy Griffith Show,” I ventured a suggestion for a line change to make it sound more “like the way a kid would say it.”
I was just 7 years old. But my idea was accepted and I remember standing frozen, thrilled at what this moment represented to me.
Andy asked me, “What you grinnin’ at, youngin’?” I said it was the first idea of mine they’d ever said yes to. Without a pause, Andy responded for all to hear: “It was the first idea that was any damn good. Now let’s do the scene.”
That inclusiveness that allowed a child to truly be a part of something as unique and memorable as “The Andy Griffith Show”is something I will forever be grateful for.
He was known for ending shows by looking at the audience and saying “I appreciate it, and good night.” Perhaps the greatest enduring lesson I learned from eight seasons playing Andy’s son Opie on the show was that he truly understood the meaning of those words, and he meant them, and there was value in that.
In “Alien,” the most recent TV spot from Audi, viewers are transported into the world of a child who misunderstands her dad’s looks, actions and most notably all of the technological innovations inside the Audi A6 as proof that he is a space alien.
Child mortality in Africa has plummeted, belying the continent’s “hopeless” reputation.
The chart below shows the change over the most recent five years in the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births.
Sixteen of the 20 have seen falls, but the more impressive finding is the size of the decline in 12: more than the 4.4% annual fall needed for the world to achieve its millennium development goal of cutting by two-thirds the child-mortality rate between 1990 and 2015.
The top performers, Senegal and Rwanda, now have rates the same as India. It took India 25 years to reduce its rate from around 120 child deaths per 1,000 births to 72 now. It took Rwanda and Senegal only about five years.
Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank in Washington, DC, calls this “the biggest, best story in development”.