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
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
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.