IT GETS WORSE: ACCORDING TO "PRIMETIME LIVE," PAULA ABDUL SECRETLY OFFERED TO STRAP THE MOST ATTRACTIVE TODDLERS IN THEIR STROLLERS BY HERSELF

According to a report in yesterday's Times, parents just like us favor their attractive children over their uglier offspring beginning in toddler days. As always with groundbreaking, counter-intuitive research on parenting, the methodology is the most fun. The Canadian researchers apparently hid in the dark corners of supermarkets, rating the appearance of each child on a scale from 1 to 10. Then,

The researchers noted if the parents belted their youngsters into the grocery cart seat, how often the parents' attention lapsed and the number of times the children were allowed to engage in potentially dangerous activities like standing up in the shopping cart.

Based on their spying, they found that moms only strapped their homeliest kids in shopping carts 4% of the time, while their tots with shiny hair and symmetrical features were strapped in 13.3% of the time. Dads didn't bother to strap in a single dog-faced boy. The research is consistent with studies showing that taller, more attractive people tend to be more successful, more popular, and to earn more than their knuckle-dragging contemporaries. The study's authors speculated that people may be wired to take better care of more attractive children to preserve the most promising seed for the next generation.

Maureen Dowd, speaking as always for the underdog, especially on slow news days, speculates on today's op-ed page that not only are parents neglecting their ugly ducklings, they're actually considering burning them, as her column concludes:

... one thing's for sure: it's hard to develop self-esteem when you're hurtling out of the supermarket cart toward the rotisserie oven.

In other news you may have missed . . . PARENTS ONLY STRAP THEIR KIDS INTO SHOPPING CARTS 13% OF THE TIME!!!

AND WITH THREE TIMES AS MUCH KETCHUP IN EVERY PACKET, IT WILL ONLY TAKE FOUR PACKETS TO GET SMALL FELLOW THROUGH A SIDE ORDER OF FRENCH FRIES

Heinz is testing new "simple to open, mess-free" ketchup-packet technology in the U.K. And it sounds like the kind of product American burger-lovers would welcome. "Heinz spokesman Robin Teets said it's too early to project when the squeeze packet will make it across the pond," the Daily News reports, but since the company "suggests that fast-food diners pay a small price for the new packets," we're going to go out on a limb and guess . . . never.

AFTER ALL, WHO KNOWS BETTER THE STING OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY THAN CLINTON, WHO WAS A HUSKY KID HIMSELF . . . AND FOLLOWING THAT LOGIC, WE IMAGINE HIS NEXT CRUSADE WILL BE TO STAMP OUT MIDDLE-AGE INFIDELITY

Former President Clinton came to a Harlem school yesterday to announce a partnership with the American Heart Association to reduce childhood obesity and its time bomb of health costs by 2010. Clinton, who blames his childhood diet for his eventual heart problems, will encourage schools, health care organizations, and the media to join the campaign. He will also encourage restaurants and food manufacturers to reduce portion sizes for unhealthy food.

On a personal note, we'd like to take this opportunity to invite Clinton to take his campaign to FD.com headquarters, where he can urge Small Fellow and Tiny Girl to -- stop eating the matzoh already!

YOU THINK THIS IS BAD? WAIT'LL THE NEXT ITEM

Two Indiana preschoolers snatched their mother's keys and took her van on a five-mile joy ride that ended with the brothers plowing into a pile of dirt at a fertilizer plant.

IT'S TIME TO PLAY YOU MAKE THE CALL, THE GAME WHERE FREELANCE DAD ASKS: WHO IS MOST AT FAULT?

Here's today's challenge (second item) : A father falls asleep in his Queens home on a quiet afternoon. As he rests, his three-year-old puts on his purple jacket, leaves the apartment, walks to the nearest bus stop, catches the Q5 to Jamaica Avenue, strolls into a multiplex, and sits down to enjoy the voice talents of Robin Williams in the animated motion picture, "Robots." Police find the boy at the multiplex, and promptly arrest the father for endangering the welfare of a minor.

So, reader, You Make the Call: Who Is Most at Fault?

If you said, "The bus driver," for letting an unaccompanied three-year-old get off his bus without alerting authorities, you're right! (We also would have accepted Robin Williams, for the tired shtick we can only assume he brought to his voice-over performance in the film.)

A PASSING MOTORIST NARROWLY AVOIDED STRIKING DUCKLING NO. 11. GOOD THING, OR WE'D BE CALLING HIM "FLAT QUACKS"

And now an FD.com update: The mother mallard duck who had taken up residence on the lawn of the Treasury Building a few weeks back, and who had been granted Secret Service protection, has finally hatched her 11 ducklings. The mallard, nicknamed Quacks Reform by some, and Failed Foreign Policy Distraction by others, was taken by motorcade with all of her babies from Pennsylvania Avenue to a creek in a district park, in an operation uncannily similar to the one in Robert McCloskey's classic.

May 4, 2005 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

Comments

Maybe the three year old walked on and off the bus close to some adults, so the bus driver didn't notice. Isn't it the Dad's fault? Whatever happened to double-locking the door?

Posted by: Loving Mother | May 6, 2005 11:07:05 AM

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