La La How The Life Goes On

Archive for January 2012

http://www.metro.us/boston/local/article/1073955–david-ettlinger-to-face-more-child-porn-charges-today

Friends, that link right there is my worst parental nightmare come true. A local schoolteacher has been charged with possessing hundreds of pornographic images of children, including images of him molesting a family friend when she was 12. Pretty horrifying, but it gets worse. He was part of the infamous international kid porn sharing site Dreamboard that was busted last year by the DOJ. I will not go into the micro details of Dreamboard for fear of vomiting, but you can google it. Truly vile, depraved and evil stuff going on, involving children under 12, many infants, with a preference for footage of “children in distress and crying.”

It absolutely boggles the mind that such evil exists in our world. It absolutely chills my soul to know that those involved are people you know and see everyday. These pedophiles are not homeless flashers. They are not creepy old men. And, folks who fear homosexuality, they are not your gay neighbors. They are married, “upstanding” men. Accountants, lawyers…and teachers. Why? Because you don’t leave your children in the care of homeless flashers. You leave them with clean cut all-American teachers.

Which is why–I will say it again and haters can hate–no male will ever babysit my daughters. Parents of sons, I mean you no offense. In fact, I would recommend that you adopt the same policy. This is a shame for the wonderful male elementary school teachers I know and adore, of course, that their motivations should now be suspect. So what else can we do besides suspect everyone of nefarious intent?

I think we should adopt a zero-tolerance attitude toward the sexualization of children. This means pageants, smart-ass t-shirts, kiddie bikinis, all of it. The BabyDaddy has what I thought were overly-strict rules for the girls: no bikinis, no online presence, no unsecured online pics, etc. Now I am with him 100%. I google my girls’ names frequently just to make sure that nothing comes up, because predators lift photos without your knowledge. They will have no email address and no Facebook profile until high school. End of story.

Another practice we have for hopefully decreasing their vulnerability is deflecting any praise they receive for being “pretty” or “beautiful.” I usually say something like, “thank you, and she is incredibly funny/smart/sweet too.” I want my girls to find it not normal for an adult man to comment on their prettiness. I want them to be skeeved out if someone remarks on their appearance more than once. I want them to feel that it’s weird enough behavior to tell me about. More than anything, I want them to immediately tell me if anyone ever makes them feel even the slightest bit weird, “politeness” be damned. Luckily, Bambina does tell me stuff, and I am so lucky and grateful. So, adult males ( and females), I issue you a challenge today: next time you see a young girl, challenge yourself to say something about her that is not appearance-related. In fact, challenge yourself to know that you don’t have to compliment her at all until she does something worth complimenting. Trust me, the kids won’t care either way.

What else an we do, folks? It seems that the coarsening and soft pornification of our culture is unstoppable. But maybe if a good number of us band together and say enough, even if our kids don’t have cool clothes and our great grandparents think we are crazy, we could make a difference. Maybe if we recognize that the entire paid sex industrial complex relies on children as its foundation, we will have less tolerance for strip clubs, a 4-to-1 hooker to John arrest ratio, and anything–anything–that says young equals sexy.

http://sctnow.org/

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Lunch Lady

Posted on: January 13, 2012

I remember the heady days of 1980’s school lunches: chicken rondelets, hoagie sandwiches, tater tots, franks-n-beans, and the ever-mysterious Salisbury steak. All disgusting, all delicious, and nothing my parents would ever consider eating.

I recently volunteered in Bambina’s cafeteria to help implement a recycling program, and let’s just say that it ain’t your mama’s lunch line. The table was a veritable abbondanza (thank you, Mama Celeste) of apples, salads and healthy choices. In the midst of handing out stickers to any kids who recycled and to those with Tupperware, I was seriously wondering how I could sign up for school lunch takeout.

But here’s the rub: that table was so full of healthy choices because none of the kids were choosing them. They took the pizza slice and the chocolate milk and went on their happy way. I mean, a few kids took an apple here or there, but the other items were ignored in droves. One teacher was imploring some boys to take a salad, but she might as well have been asking them to publicly confess a burning love for Justin Bieber: no takers. And lest the parents who send healthy lunches to school think they are superior, please allow me to relay how many times I counseled kids that neither carrots, celery, raisins nor grapes were recyclable. Entire half-portions of lunch boxes were thrown in the trash. Items kept: hot stuff in thermoses (thermii?), crackers, cheese, chips and various “granola” bars. Almost everything else? Trashed. With prejudice. I almost called one of those dumpster diving groups to come over and eat till they bust, so full of nutritious food were the trash cans.

So what’s the solution? I’m not sure. Maybe we give kids longer than 20 minutes from butts-in-seats to line-up-and-leave. That would be a start. Sad to say that I give Bambina lots of “squeezable” foods, simply because she does not have the luxury of time to open a carton and use a spoon. How do we expect our kids to understand the importance of healthy food if we don’t put some value on the time it takes to eat it?

Another solution may be pouring a tall glass of ice cold reality over our heads: if a 7 year old can eat celery from home or a few chips fom her friend’s lunch, which do you imagine she will choose?

Perhaps the key here is making healthy foods interesting to a child’s palate…and in line with their needs from seaon to season. This is not news. I eat kale like its going out of style, but it would have taken a rupture in the time-space continuum to get me to even try it as a kid. So that may be the disconnect. Add to that the reality that kids come in from recess on a cold wintry day and grab…an apple and a salad with their chicken nuggets? Not likely. Would you? You’d want something warming, something comfort foody…and a cold apple with dry ass raisins ain’t it.

The solution eludes me, but the discussion makes me nostalgic for the rectangular slabs of Ellio’s pizza with that one solitary pepperoni in the middle. Now THAT was good eatin’.