Ever wonder why firstborns tend to get more education, make more money and score higher on IQ tests? Brigham Young University economics Prof. Joseph Price did, too, and here's what he found: It's about time. Firstborn children get about 3,000 more hours of quality time with their parents between ages 4 and 13 than the next sibling gets over the same age range. Price's findings, which used data from the American Time Use Survey of 21,000 people, were published in the Journal of Human Resources. But parents shouldn't feel guiltier than they already do. Such inequalities are largely unintentional, Price said, and are simply a result of less time available and more parental exhaustion as families grow. His advice: Be aware that this is a natural pattern and try to fight it by, for example, less TV time for the younger kids and more one-on-one time with you.

The mother of all biz cards

Now that researchers in Britain have concluded that a homemaker's worth is close to $60,000 annually, it's time for the next step: business cards. An online printing company has created a line of "Mommy Cards" (pictured at top), which include Mom's name and a colorful design of her choice, her kids' names, contact numbers, even allergy information. 100 cards for $3.95. Go to www.123print.com/Full-Color-Mommy-Cards.

For dads, there's greatdad.com, a slick and info-packed website created by fathers for fathers, "because dads don't always think like moms." Sleeping, shopping, sex and other subjects are tackled with humor and honesty, whether Dad is a first-timer diapering a baby or the stepfather of teenagers.

Over 40, with a parent over 70?

Then start talking. That's the idea behind the "40-70 rule," a national program recently launched in Wright, Carver and Hennepin counties. The idea is that if you're 40, or your parents are 70, it's time to start talking about sensitive issues -- independence, hygiene, driving, finances and more -- before a crisis occurs. To order the free booklet, "The 40-70 Rule: A Guide to Conversation Starters for Boomers and Their Senior Loved Ones," go to www.4070talk.com.

Packing love

Packing lunches is a drag, but local artist Marianne Richmond's Lunch Grams (below) take the bite out of this daily chore. Her charming book features 80 colorful, perforated cards to tuck into a brown bag, gym bag or math book. Probably best for younger kiddos who still love to be reminded (publicly, at least), that you're thinking about them; $9.95, available at select gift stores or www. mariannerichmond.com.

Ebony magazine and American Greetings have teamed up to create greeting cards to honor the black experience. Classic and iconic Ebony cover images on the cards date back to 1948 and include a variety of notable Americans, including Duke Ellington (1899-1974, below left) and Betty Shabazz (1936-1997, below right), human rights activist and widow of Malcolm X. The cards, $3 each, are widely available.

Gail Rosenblum • 612-673-7350