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
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.
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.