This week I figured it was my mom-writer duty to publicly share some thoughts on the royal birth. Perhaps I'd offer my two cents on the choice of George as a baby name (which, for me, only conjures up images of either Washington or Costanza). Or perhaps I'd craft a rant on why Kate Middleton's appearing in public with a post-delivery belly is an asinine thing to consider news.
Or else, I thought, I could find a parenting angle in the other big story of the week, Weiner-gate. Composing a post on how Anthony and Huma's child could distance himself from his father's last name (for many obvious reasons) had some appeal. Jordan Zane Abedin actually sounds pretty good. Jordan Danger? Not so much.
But just as I was settling in to write about something hot on the national or international front, the biggest local parenting story in months broke out on the near east side of Madison. And it involved breastfeeding and pizza.
As I'm sure most of you know by know, a scandal of sorts was unleashed on Willy Street last week when the word got out that a woman breastfeeding her child at the newly opened Grampa's Pizzeria was asked by a member of the restaurant's staff to move to an area with no other diners after another patron complained.
The restaurant's owners have since recognized that what they did was wrong, as well as illegal, and promptly threw a free pizza party for moms and kids as an olive branch.
In many ways, the case is closed. And after all the exposure, I'm pretty sure "it's absolutely legal for nursing moms to do so publicly" will forever be a part of Madison-area waitstaff training.
But to me, a key issue still remains. In a Facebook post in response to the controversy, Grandpa's stated, "I also feel it is important to point out that we are a small (40 seat) restaurant geared more towards a date night or a night out with friends venue" (which brings up the question, does every restaurant in town need to be family friendly? No, you can't, and shouldn't ask, a nursing woman to move the meal (both her and her baby's) to another spot once you've seated her. But I do think it's fair for a restaurant to say they'd prefer their clientele to have teeth and to be able to order off the menu themselves.
Last year, I wrote a post on precisely this same topic half in jest, half seriously, recommending that all area restaurants adopt a ratings code, similar to that of the movies, which would guide patrons on how kid-appropriate a particular dining establishment might be.
As I say in the column, I am usually all about child inclusiveness and am absolutely fine with kids kicking the back of my seat on an airplane or crying in a religious service. But when my husband and I plan a night out at certain type of restaurant (and maybe Grampa's might be one of them; I haven't eaten there yet) I am usually there to escape my kids. And no matter how well behaved the baby, preschooler or toddler sitting next to me might be, he or she would most certainly take me out of a romantic frame of mind.
I have to say, the name Grampa's Pizzeria sounds pretty darn homey and family-oriented. I don't blame the stroller set for entering the establishment expecting high chairs and crayons and being disappointed if the place doesn't have them.
But if the proprietors want to keep a swank, sophisticated vibe, I all right with that, too. Which is, of course, easy for me to say because I haven't had to share my dinner with a nursing child (that belonged to me) in over eight years.
So I'm interested in what you all think. Do you like the idea of having a place to dine out where you are guaranteed a kid-fee experience? Or do you find it a turn-off if a restaurarnt isn't openly welcome to the littlest foodies?
And just so I haven't completely ignored writing about the newest British monarch, according to reports he's being breastfed. But I don't think the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George will ever need to worry about being asked to move when enjoying high tea at The Savoy.
The rules are always different for royalty.comments powered by Disqus
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders " 10 boys and six girls " enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
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.