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
This post will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage. 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. There is no question I completely enjoyed my break from the kids. But my biggest discovery this past weekend was that it was the kids, perhaps, who needed a break even more.
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.