Actress Alicia Silverstone, best known for the 1995 film classic Clueless (and I'm not sure what else), unleashed quite a media storm last week when she posted a video of herself feeding her six month old son pre-chewed food. And not by spoon or fork, mind you, but directly from her mouth to his.
There is no question this practice is unusual -- I can't say I know a single girlfriend who used this food processing method with her kid, but hey, we all owned blenders. And while feeding children like baby birds (or in Silverstone's case cubs -- her son's name is Bear Blu) may be a meaningful way for some parents to bond with their offspring, I doubt this practice will be going mainstream.
Interestingly, there are experts in the field of maternal and child nutrition that have studied the health benefits of premastication (the fancy word for chewing your kid's food for him) and have found that the practice potentially provides both immunological and digestive benefits . And there are other studies that feel it's risky due to the potential of passing along dangerous viruses. But I don't think genuine health concerns were at the root of why this video touched an Internet nerve. I think the story outlived its 15 minutes because the practice, to our "civilized" eyes, seems just plain gross. Swapping spit is just not something we are used to doing with our children.
But I am certainly not going to judge Ms. Silverstone's choice. Because let's just say when it comes to the parent-child gross-o-meter this one barely registers for me.
I have let my child use either his or her own sleeves and then move onto mine for nose blowing during cold and flu season. I have sat smiling while my toddler vomited on an unsuspecting passenger seated next to us on an airplane. I have wiped the poopy tushies of not just my own children, but of countless neighbor children as well.
I have fished Matchbox cars out of unflushed toilets (to my kid's credit, I think they may have been Matchbox boats -- makes sense he thought they could float). I've also fished carefully placed rocks out of snotty nasal cavities. We have closed down the baby pool more than once at more than one area swim club.
The five-second rule for eating things off the floor is more like the five-day rule at our house. I think my middle child once ate an M&M, with my permission, found in the corner of the basement. It probably fell more into the five-year rule. I have knowingly shared my toothbrush with my kids on vacation. I was just too lazy to search out the closest drugstore. This probably isn't a whole lot different from premasticating, from an exchange of bodily fluids perspective.
No, I am probably not the mom to call out another mom on her decision to do something a bit, and for some very, gross.
But hey, I didn't get into this parenthood business because I expected it to be antiseptic or pristine.
For me, it's often the little messes and missteps along the way, while not always hygienic, that give me something to chew on.
Although usually not literally.comments powered by Disqus
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.
I am so thrilled that the United Way is sponsoring a Teen Gift Drive this holiday season. Sure, teen "wants" often aren't as fun to shop for as precious baby dolls and sweet Lego sets. But middle and high school kids still "need" to feel valued and loved during this time of year. And helping a family in need to provide this for their child is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.
My 11th-grade and 8th-grade sons have heard "the chant" for years. You know which one I'm talking about -- the ESFY (U?) chant (I'm not sure what the parenting post rules are for writing two of the more forbidden four-letter words in the English language) that appears to have both Barry Alvarez and Chancellor Blank quite concerned.
There are many different criteria parents use when evaluating which pre-school programs will be right for their children. Some parents might be looking for an educational philosophy that stresses creativity and community. Others may desire an option that revolves around learning through play or is more academic in approach.
We spent hours poring over name books and checking for inappropriate initial combinations. We looked at meanings, variant spellings and popularity charts. And, as I am sure every parent does, we thought we'd hit the name jackpot with each of our kids. But there are always surprises.
A generation or two ago, the pediatrician was the guy (yes, they were mostly guys) who gave your kids shots and prescribed big bottles of antibiotics for every sniffle. Madison's Dipesh Navsaria is a different breed of pediatrician.
Gamehole Con will be the premier tabletop gaming convention in the region. And with Wisconsin being the birthplace of Dungeons and Dragons, as well as the nation's leader in gaming stores per capita, it kind of makes sense that the convention's organizers want the Dairy State to be known for more than just cheese, beer and bratwurst.
This year I will also try to ease up some of my previous costume concerns. Sure, the world is rife with inappropriate dress up choices for our kids; there is no parent out there that is keen on his or her child dressing like a pint-sized prostitute, even for one night.
This past Saturday, I took my youngest to hear Caldecott award-winning author/illustrator Kevin Henkes read from his latest work, The Year of Billy Miller, a short novel for the early elementary grades.
I was greeted at the door by Tom Moen, who has served as executive director of what he likes to call "Madison's best kept secret", for the past 39 of the center's 47 years. Located in the middle of the subsidized Truax Park apartment complex, EMCC, with its vast array of offerings for kids, seniors and everyone in between, is unquestionably the heart of the neighborhood.
Madison's Kashmira Sheth has written four award-winning novels for middle grade and teen readers, and a popular chapter book for six- to nine-year-olds, but right now her picture books are what she's excited to talk about.
A few summers back, my daughter, maybe 8 or 9 at the time, decided to take part in our swimming pool's annual water ballet show. I'm not really sure what initially piqued her interest in the somewhat under-the-radar, very much under-the-water sport of synchronized swimming.
We rarely included a stop at the Central Library as part of our regular outing. For those of you who've been in Madison for a while, I'm sure you'd agree that the old building was pretty run down. Not to mention, dark, cavernous and depressing. Libraries, at their best, should be portals to discovery, right?
My eleven-year-old daughter spent most of last weekend alone in her room, door shut. It wasn't a temper tantrum or an overwhelming need for tween privacy that led to her self-induced isolation, though. Instead, I didn't see her (except for meals) for two days because she was, in her words, "going through her closet."
Yes, the 2004 classic comedy Mean Girls is an absolutely delightful movie. But it's definitely not the smartest mother/daughter viewing as your child is about to enter her inaugural year of middle school.
Despite celebrating 30 years in business this year, Knowledge Unlimited Inc. remains relatively unknown in the community. Those concerned with closing the achievement gap in Madison's schools, however, may want to take note. This award-winning educational-materials producer, based in Middleton, is unique in emphasizing multiculturalism throughout its lines of educational posters, DVDs and children's books.