Overinvolved in school

If you kill the sugar, you kill the party

Kids love class parties. They love the tiny mass-marketed Valentine’s Day cards that train them to be dutiful consumers (“You are a Super Friend, Valentine!”).

They love that they get to glue things up and cut things out when they would normally be struggling to pay attention to some grownup inexplicably talking about something at the front of the room.

And they love the food — the junkier the better.

I don’t normally feed my children Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip and Pixy Stix for dinner, but I am certainly not opposed to them receiving these items at a class party, or chugging them when the party monitors aren’t looking. And I certainly do not mind them partaking in treats other than fruit and cheese at a party. But I hear that many class parties are being thrown with absolutely no sugar. Just fruit, thank you. A little cheese, merci. 

Grownups, let’s be serious. If we were at a reception and someone offered us just fruit and cheese, they’d better be damned certain there was some wine to go with that.

For kids, the cupcakes or cookies would be that main event. Because a party without cake or cookies is just a regular old snack time. The kids know this, and they know we know this. And they know that we know that they know this.

So, barring a few health issues and allergies, please, please, let your kid have a cupcake this year.

Just don’t do it every day, and I promise they will all live to be safe, happy adults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No shots, no school: It’s that simple

Measles are back. And I blame Sherwood Schwartz.

Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, “The Brady Bunch” was the rerun show to park your kid in front of while you made dinner. And from that Schwartz-produced show, we have today’s measles mini-epidemic.

For today’s parents, those six kids made measles look fun. A lark. A reason to act really bratty and ring dinner bells as your parents and the family maid were at your beck and call. It was just a rash, right?

No. That’s a sitcom, people. Real measles might be almost fun, and it might also result in blindness, brain damage or death. Those after-effects are proven. By science. The stats.

One thing that hasn’t been proven is the supposed link that autism has to MMR vaccines. Not proven, and please don’t say the name Andrew Wakefield. It’s unbecoming to cite falsified results. If there’s a connection, there would be proof from other sources. There’s not. People have looked.

I’m a firm believer that if you don’t want to get your kid vaccinated, you don’t get to send your kid to public school. You want to be off the grid as far as vaccinations go? Then go ahead. And it’s my right to keep my kids away from people who don’t believe in preventative care for their kids.

Do you really think that modern hygiene is the reason we no longer have this disease around much, and that perfectly coincided with the widespread introduction of measles vaccines? Did hand washing appreciably improve in the late 1970s? Should we thank Ivory soap? No. It’s the vaccines, stupid.

You want to go off the grid? Then go do that. But it’s our right not to be part of your measles-, mumps- and rubella-carrying herd, so please stay the hell off the grid once you do go there.

Turning down a shot does affect my kid and other people’s kids, and grownups, and I could go on. The vaccines work by breaking the chain of contagion, and when you turn down the shots, you are volunteering to be one more link in that chain. Immune-compromised people who cannot get the shots for actual medical reasons would be protected if you would stop being so ignorant of history and human disease.

The shot isn’t perfect, but it is effective, and that’s proven by the fact that we haven’t all had measles, and that a sizable portion the general U.S. population isn’t blind, deaf, brain-damaged or dead as a result of it. Before vaccinations began in the early 1960s, hundreds of people died of measles each year, and more than 45,000 were hospitalized.

This isn’t eczema.

And this shouldn’t be optional.

If your kid isn’t vaccinated and can be, you’re simply not doing your part.

Comments, please. What do you think about parents who choose not to vaccinate? What do you think about parents who do choose to vaccinate?

He’s making the world a better place, one M&M at a time

In case you haven’t heard, five-year-olds get homework now.

Yes, actual homework, the likes of which a 1977 kindergartner never saw. (She was too busy walking to school alone, breathing in leaded gasoline and avoiding cars on the road with doors tied on with twine.)

This week, my son’s homework includes writing a new year’s resolution. I found it amusing since my own resolution was already broken by Jan. 4. Yes, I got that far, and I’m quite proud.

I thought this assignment was a great exercise for him to think about all the (more…)

Sit down! This is P.E.

Twice this year, I received notes home that informed me that my child had refused to sit still and listen during his P.E. class. You know, GYM class.

The time when our children are supposed to get a state-mandated amount of running-around time at school, lest they grow up to be morbidly obese people who, say, sit still and listen all day. (And maybe work in five hours of TV, too.)

I know disciplining grade-school kids can be really tough for teachers, and I know my child is no angel, but I am pretty sure he’s entitled, by law, to be as active as he can be when it comes time to go to a course that exists so that children will grow up to be as active as they can be.

It’s his fourth year in school, and we’ve never had anything other than glowing reports. But this year, there is a new emphasis at his school on listening to painstakingly detailed game rules and practicing drills.

As one very talented soccer fanatic boy I know recently shared, “They actually found a way to make soccer boring!”

Are teachers now so attentive to getting our kids into shape that they are implementing rules and curricula that make it necessary for kids to hear lectures about how fitness is awesome, while getting almost no opportunity to get physically fit?

What a mistake. To sit and listen in their academic classes, kids need time to run like banshees. Or they’re going to be pure terrors when they get back to reading and math.

The solution? “If he won’t sit still,” I wrote, “you could try having him run around first.”

I’d love to hear what’s going on in other P.E. classes. What are your thoughts?

 

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