Produced by Gary Drevitch
China, the largest source of overseas children
adopted in the U.S., plans to bar would-be parents
who are obese, single or over 50, according to
notices posted on the Web sites of three leading
U.S. adoption agencies.
EAT WHAT YOU WANT. WE'LL MAKE MORE.
Slate's resident pediatrician, Sydney Spiesel, makes the case for letting kids eat what they choose, as opposed to forcing them to take broccoli every night at dinner. He bases his conclusions in part on a 1928 study in which two groups of orphans were offered a variety of foods, but never actually served them. Relying then only on their own choices, the kids put together a "a nutritionally perfect and complete diet." Spiesel acknowledges that such a result might be less likely today, given the power of treat marketing and the inherent unhealthiness of so many processed foods.
Still, [the study] suggests some feeding strategies that are likely to have a better outcome than either choosing everything that goes on your child's plate or giving in to every request for snacks and dessert. Provide kids with a choice of healthy foods, keeping less-healthy ingredients out of the house. As best you can, resist your impulses to try to control your child's diet.
We don't often digress here into our personal nuts-and-bolts parenting strategies, but over the past several months, whenever we've prepared meals for Small and Tiny ourselves, we've made sure to offer a choice, any choice, because it makes things go much more smoothly. Yes, this is parenting-books 101, but when they get a choice, they're more likely to clean the plate, and less likely to complain.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE (WELL, LESS)
As Semites exult in the news of scientific proof that circumcision cuts one's risk of HIV infection from heterosexual contact in half, Slate admirably takes up the then-obvious question: If I'm an uncut adult gentile looking to get a piece of that, how would I go about that? The answer is cringe-inducing from the get-go, naturally, even in its description of post-op care:
First, he should leave the doctor's office in tight-fitting underpants, to keep his surgical dressing firmly in place. (A few days later he'll want to switch to boxers, so as not to irritate the wound.) He should avoid riding a bicycle for at least five days, and he should refrain from all masturbation or sexual intercourse for four to six weeks.
He may have written the article standing up, but credit still goes to Daniel Engber for covering all his bases, even providing a link to Dr. Sears' discussion of the age-old question: Does my baby actually have an erection? (Spoiler alert" Yes, he does, and you may have to stop watching Dora.)
OH, THE PEOPLE YOU'LL MEET
The New York Sun recently spent some time with two families applying to Manhattan's gifted-and-talented kindergarten programs, albeit from distinctly different places. (Full disclosure: So is Tiny.) The point was to show that the department of ed is gradually improving the ways it helps families from different cultures navigate the system. First up: The Jordans, an upper-middle-class family with a mom who claims an uncanny ability to enter her name, address, and telephone number on admission forms:
"I've kind of been tracking this, and I'm also a social worker, so I'm used to navigating a big sprawling bureaucracy," Ms. Jordan said. "I definitely have an advantage."
Then there are Pallazhcos, Ecuadorian immigrants living on Dad's construction-worker salary who recently realized their son was very bright, then got help from his Head Start program in applying to the programs. And yet. . . they haven't mastered all the niceties of the process that come so easy to the Jordans:
Without realizing it, the Jordans and Pallazhcos recently crossed paths at an open house for the Anderson School. . . Ms. Pallazhco sat in the back row of the auditorium with her husband and [her two children], who squirmed in their seats and munched on cookies. . . . Ms. Jordan and her husband had come with a couple of friends from the neighborhood. Following instructions posted on the school's Web site, they didn't bring [their children].
Later, while touring Upper West Side G&T programs, Ms. Jordan is
shocked - shocked! - to discover the apparent segregation at public
schools with mostly white G&T classes alongside "gen-ed" rooms
filled with students of color. But would anyone on the tour be bold
enough to raise the awkward issue? Oh, yeah:
. . .one of the other parents on the tour, Cynthia Nixon, an actress on the HBO series "Sex and the City," asked first.
GOSH, HERE AT FD.COM HQ, WE'LL HIRE ANYONE. WELL, NOT THE IRISH
Gawker spotted this unusually frank posting on Craigslist the other day (since removed):
We're a Jewish family located in Manhattan, the SoHo section. We are looking for a caring and stimulating nanny to take care of our 6 month old, 3 1/2 year old, and 7 year old . . . . We do not consider ourselves as White people due to our history. We ask kindly that Whites and especially Germans not apply. References are a big must.
THIS WARNING WOULD PRESUMABLY APPLY TO DEPRESSED GERMAN NANNIES WHO CAN'T FIND WORK IN SOHO
Today's public-service note:
Pregnant women and those who plan to become pregnant should avoid taking the antidepressant Paxil if possible because of the risk of birth defects, [the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists] said yesterday. . . . Two studies of pregnant women who were taking Paxil during their first trimester have shown that their babies have heart defects at a rate that is as much as twice the norm. . .
OTHER DISCOURAGED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS INCLUDE, "ARE YOU NOW, OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN, GERMAN?"
Coincidentally, the Journal just ran a piece about interviewing nanny candidates:
. . . there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. Disrespectful or intrusive questions drive away good candidates. [Pat] Cascio, owner of Morningside Nannies, a Houston agency, says two well-qualified nannies turned down a mother after she asked them, "How often do you bathe?" and "Do you use birth control?"
Joseph Barbera, half of the prolific animation team Hanna-Barbera ("Tom and Jerry," "Flintstones," "Yogi Bear," et al), died this week at 95. We give the Barbera's studio props for "Huckleberry Hound" and for creating Wendy and Marvin, and then Zan and Jayna, for successive incarnations of the "Super Friends" series. OK, especially for creating Wendy. . .
As for the rest, aside from a few inspired creations, like Bam-Bam, little of it had
the wit of, say, Dudley Do-Right, whose producer, Chris Hayward, of Jay Ward Productions, also passed away this week, at 81, and who earns respect if only
for producing material so offensive to Canadian sensibilities that it was
briefly banned there. Hayward also worked on "Bullwinkle" and "Get Smart," and created the virtually unwatchable "Munsters." (Not that we didn't spend hours and hours watching it as a kid. . .)
NEW YORKER CARTOON OF THE WEEK
Indulge us, just this once: In this week's issue, a Danny Shanahan panel depicts two toddler boys, in diapers, sitting on the floor in front of a couch. One is holding a letter block; we can see X, A, and R on three sides. The other boy turns to him and says:
"I couldn't put it down."
STILL PLENTY OF TIME TO SHOOT UP THE KIDS
Well, it beats a shortage: After worrisome flu vaccine shortages in recent years, pharmaceutical companies may end this season with a surplus of several hundred thousand doses. This development is itself worrisome, however, as the glut will hurt vaccine-makers' profits, making them reluctant to overproduce again next year. So it may then be your patriotic duty to get your kid a flu shot now. And, no, it's not too late:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, the week after Thanksgiving, the first ever National Influenza Vaccination Week, telling people that vaccination in December or January is still worthwhile because the flu itself often does not peak until February. . . . And why stop at January? The American Academy of Pediatrics is considering a recommendation that its members offer flu shots as late as May 1 each year. . .
HENRY AND MUDGE AND THE NAMES UP IN LIGHTS
The "Henry and Mudge" musical at the Lucille Lortel has been getting excellent reviews this season. (We just reread that sentence; still can't believe we wrote it.) The New York Sun calls the Theatreworks USA production "a surprisingly satisfying musical for young children" and "a finely-drawn study of Henry's relationships." OK, then. Small and Tiny have long enjoyed the Cynthia Rylant book series, but we haven't seen the show. If you want to give it a try, you have until January 20. (Theatreworks recommends the show for kids from Pre-K to Grade 3.)
THE PRINCIPAL, IN FACT, DOES SEE SOMETHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE BUMP AND GRIND
high-school principal in a Syracuse suburb, appalled by the "bumping,
grinding, shaking, arching, teasing, and flaunting" at his school's
dances, canceled one event altogether and banned "pornographic" dance
moves. His decisions have predictably outraged students who say the
administration is refusing to keep up with the times. This Times piece
does not go on to report that students have invited Kevin Bacon to
their next dance to show their parents once and for all why they've
gotta, gotta cut footloose.
THOUGHT-PROVOKING READ OF THE WEEK
Darshak Sanghavi, author of the excellent "A Map of the Child: A Pediatrician's Tour of the Body, wrote in Science Times a week ago about parents who ''intentionally choos[e] malfunctioning genes that produce disabilities like deafness or dwarfism" so that their children will be like themselves.
Their decisions are massively counterintuitive. On the other hand, there but for the grace of God, etc., etc. Sanghavi provides a fascinating introduction to a topic that's been percolating in fertility clinics and genetics journals for years.
December 20, 2006 | Permalink |
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