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
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (Near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.
All during childhood, we calmly tell our kids they don't need to be afraid of the dark, thunder or the monster under the bed. But it's pretty hard to keep your parental cool when your kid is about to embark on the one thing that terrifies you. I knew the problem wasn't really with him. It was with me.
Last January, when temperatures dipped below minus 30 and most people between the ages of 16 and 24 did anything to stay inside, a small yet sturdy group of at-risk teenage boys and young men stacked wood and managed controlled burns at Festge County Park near Cross Plains. Five months later, following a temperature swing of more than 100 degrees, Isthmus found some of those same guys removing invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn at Lake View Hill County Park on Madison's north side.
The first week of summer break at our place usually comes and goes without incident. At times, one could argue, it even verges on pleasant. I have no school lunches to pack and the kids have no 7 a.m. buses to catch.
Have you tried getting anywhere on either Verona Road or East Johnson lately? I'm pretty sure a six-month old could crawl to Fitchburg, or across the isthmus, in less time that it takes me to drive there these days.
As soon as the door closed behind him, I poured myself a cup of the coffee he had made and took a moment to let the enormity of what just happened sink in. My son was ready that morning despite my inability to properly set an alarm clock. My kid was ready that morning without nudging, cajoling, or reminding. He was ready, even when I wasn't.
For the past 17 years or so (i.e., since I've had kids), I haven't made books the priority in my life I know they should be. It's not that I don't try. Just this past weekend I had the best of intentions of picking up, and even finishing, I am Malala, this year's UW-Madison's Go Big Read pick. But the copy still sits untouched on my nightstand.
The longest day of the year is upon us. For those of you keeping track, the sun will rise at 5:18 a.m. and set at 8:41 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. All that daylight, courtesy of the annual summer solstice, will provide the perfect backdrop for Make Music Madison, a daylong event featuring hours and hours of free performances in nearly every corner of the city.
Last week, for the first time, I made my way up to one of the open gallery nights during Madison West's Fine Arts Week, the school's annual showcase for all things creative. The scope of the event is huge, with nearly 1,600 students participating, and the quality of the presented works is phenomenal. It's almost as if the school had been lifted off its perch on Regent Street and traveled back in time to Belle Époque Paris.
If you have aspiring authors in your house, this summer offers a fabulous opportunity for them refine their writing skills. For its second summer, the Greater Madison Writing Project, in partnership with Olbrich Botanical Gardens, is sponsoring two week-long camps in August for young writers entering grades 3-8.
There are lots of benefits to living in a college town. First and foremost, there is always something going on -- a lecture, a film series. Maybe even a protest, if you're lucky. And since becoming a Madisonian, I, for the first time in my life, find myself interested in college football.
My passion for the talent show clearly runs deep, but I'm more than just a fangirl. This year marked my second as one of the "Ziegfelds" of the Follies, Hamilton's annual showcase for singers, musicians, dancers and other varied forms of entertainment. Trust me, when you are part of the spectacle's "producing/directing" team you get a new-found appreciation for how hard the kids worked to get up on stage.
My daughter, who turned twelve just this past week, is not legally "of age" when it comes to social media. But I guess, in many respects, especially in those that involve screens, I am a permissive pushover. I've allowed her join some networks.
What adults love about camping -- sleeping under the stars, getting away from it all, the sounds of nature -- can be scary for children. It's dark in a tent. Nothing is familiar. Of course, camping with kids is more work for adults, too. Stay cool, live in the moment. Forget about that lost fork. Making s'mores, spotting wildlife, that's what kids will remember.
I have just returned from a whirlwind, five-day, four-city college tour with my son. You know those "101 Things to Know Before Visiting Disney World" guidebooks that experienced theme park travelers have written to help the uninitiated? I think I am now officially seasoned enough in information sessions and campus tours to give some serious thought to penning a similar "insiders guide" for the junior-year parent.
This past week, against both my will and better judgement, I accompanied 50 or so middle school kids to the Future Problem Solvers Wisconsin State Bowl, a popular academic and skit-writing competition.
It may be a bigger waste of breath than electricity to ask my kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. If I've nagged them once, I've nagged them a thousand times. No, I've never noticed anything amiss with their fingers. But it appears they are physically incapable of flipping a switch to the "off" position.
I want to say thank you to the Board of Education for allowing Maia to return to class, unquestionably the place she belongs, as well as to thank them for adopting the new policies. But just as importantly, I also want to thank Maia and her family for their willingness to come forward with their story.
Some clever-clogs is playing Rachmaninoff on the piano at a party, and there it is again, that oft-heard adult lament of lost opportunity from a dejected onlooker: "I wish I could play. I wish my parents hadn't let me quit music lessons. I was just a kid -- how was I to know?" It's a reasonable complaint.
If you're checking out summer camps for your child, there are many issues -- some obvious, some less so -- to keep in mind. Here's a list to keep handy when you contact camps and camp directors, looking for the perfect spot for your kids to have fun, relax, and learn this summer.