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Bad kids, bad food, hairy babies, and poor, poor Elmo.

By Alice Bradley

You’ve already eliminated spinach from your diet, as well as peanut butter. You can’t even read Peter Pan to your child without gagging. And now there are even more food recalls. It appears, my Internet friends, that there is absolutely no safe foodstuff left in this world. Start panicking…now.
That Earth’s Best baby cereal in your cupboard? Yeah, that’s going to give you botulism, so you might want to toss that. I know you were considering pairing the cereal with some Oscar Mayer pre-cooked chicken strips, but along with those, you’re going to get a little extra something called listeria. And did you remember to pick up mushrooms from B.J.’s Wholesale Club this week? If so, you also picked up some bonus E. coli! You’ll just eat a slice of fruit for dinner, you say? Make sure it’s not cantaloupe, as that’s teeming with salmonella.
(P.S.: I hope your cat hasn’t been snacking on Wild Kitty Cat Food, because that’s been infected with salmonella, as well. Poor kitty.)
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be living on a diet of ketchup and Post-It Notes (you can eat those, right?) for the indefinite future.
Is E. coli to blame for the rise in juvenile misbehavior? Sadly for this segue, no. In a report released Tuesday by the Vanier Institute for the Family, researchers concluded that there are more problem children in the United States and Canada today than there were fifty years ago. E. coli would certainly make me more likely to engage in shenanigans or hooliganry, just to distract myself from the bloody diarrhea and cramping, but there’s nothing about that in the report, so I should really move on. (Hey, want to see a horrifying animation of what E. coli does to your intestines? Here you go!)
The paper, described as “a review of hundreds of studies, mostly from Canada and the United States, that looked at various causes for the rise in children’s behavioural problems,” found a definite and disturbing rise in the number of no-goodnik youth. Not only are there more bad kids, but the bad kids tend to turn bad at a younger age, and in a third-wave-feminism, wait-this-isn’t-what-we-meant twist, there’s a rise in aggression among females. Whose fault is this? According to the Vanier Institute, pretty much everyone. Parents, schools, society, television, and of course, billiards. But of course, mostly parents, who work longer hours, and thus spend less time with their children. Get what I’m saying, there? It’s the parents’ fault that they can’t afford to live without two incomes and overtime. Parents!
Incidentally, there was a parallel study on kids done by the Dutch Institute For Our Kids Are So Great about how staggeringly awesomer Northern European children are. But they were all high when they wrote it. (My juvenile humor is just a mask for the pain of my inner child. I just want to break some windows. Or do I want a hug?)
Maybe it’s hairiness that’s the problem. (I should really stop trying to engineer these segues, shouldn’t I?) According to the Times, researchers at Johns Hopkins tried to disprove the old wives’ tale that heartburn during pregnancy means a hairy baby. And they couldn’t. In the study, the pregnant women who suffered heartburn birthed babies swaddled in pelts of baby-fur (translation: had average or above-average amounts of hair), while the women who had no heartburn were more likely to have babies with little to no hair. Apparently estrogen is the link: more estrogen means a greater likelihood of heartburn, as well as a thick, lustrous infant mane. Science!
Once those hirsute babies grow into television-watching youth, will they have anything worthwhile to watch? Not if President Bush, who apparently loathes Elmo more than he despises insured children, has his way. His proposed 2007 government fiscal year budget will cut federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by nearly a quarter.
PBS is the only source of educational programming for families who can’t afford expensive cable packages. Urge Congress not to approve President Bush’s proposed budget. Sign the MomsRising petition to support PBS.

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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mad muthas

another day, another food scare. now dull, blameless hummous has been swept from the shelves in the uk. i mean, honestly! the only possible reason for eating the blasted stuff is for the glow of virtue you experience afterwards. but now it seems that glow might be your soaring temperature as the foodpoisoning bacteria spread through your digestive system. who’d have thought it? so it’s back to guacamole and taramosalata with a clear conscience – and to hell with the saturated fats. hang on, though … do you think this could be a plot to re-invent hummous as ‘the bad… Read more »

fairly odd mother

Wow! Yet another reason to hate Bush! And, I’m not buying the hairiness study—had it terribly with all three kids but they were so non-hairy, none of them had a haircut much before their 2nd birthday. Although maybe the heartburn was from all the burritos I ate.


Oh, it’s hard to type from my position on the floor where I’m rolling around… Pelts of baby fur? I simultaneously adore and am so flippin’ jealous of your way with words that I could die.

slouching mom

Incidentally, there was a parallel study on kids done by the Dutch Institute For Our Kids Are So Great about how staggeringly awesomer Northern European children are. I bought in to that one, too, yes I did, until I was in Amsterdam this fall and had the distinct pleasure of spending the afternoon with my boys at the Nemo (science) museum. I have never, and I mean never, encountered such brazen rudeness among children as in that museum. One Dutch? German? ten-year-old was monopolizing part of an exhibit, and after ten minutes or so of waiting with my then four-year-old,… Read more »

Mrs. Kennedy

Yeah, I have to take issue with that heartburn thing. I never had it while pregnant, and then I birthed a little 8 lb. 11 oz. chimpanzee. Science, indeed.


Hey, I like hummus! But anyway, my little man has a full head of hair and I didn’t have so much as a lick of heartburn all 9 months.


How, pray tell, does a canatloupe get salmonella?


I had horrible heartburn and my little one did have some serious back hair at birth–but it all fell out, thank goodness. He also had sort of a mullet type thing at a few weeks old so we had to cut it to avoid embarrassment among our peers.


Oh my God I love you for (1) talking about the scary, scary and then (2) blaming society. Those are my two favorite activities.
Putting it all together: I’ll bet they have less E coli in countries with more social spending. What do you want to bet? Even if not, knowing everyone was insured, had decent childcare and didn’t have to work 50+ hours to keep body and soul together would certainly help my digestion and immune system. I’d then have a higher chance of surviving all the killer foods.


Thank you for this post. My family lives out in the sticks where it’s satellite or nothing, and because we don’t care about watching over 1,000 channels we just deal with our little old antenna. PBS is my lifeline on the rainy days, sick days, and mommy had a big-fat-headache days. There’s nothing about it I don’t like or approve of and I’d be very saddened if it was no longer.


I have to say that there were no rainbows in this post. That was really depressing. And I ate both peanut butter and spinach today, so I’m probably going to die. Plus my son will be a delinquent because I’m at work right now and I let him play video games this morning. At least Bush is as anti-Elmo as I am, though I do love PBS. That’s the one thing we do agree on, though it pains me to agree with him on anything. Down with Elmo!


Even my seven year old hates Bush. (Of her own volition I’ll add here). She suggested that perhaps he should send the twins over to Iraq as part of the new deployment so’ he’d know how all the other mommies and daddies feel.’
You gotta be a special kind of a**hole, if seven year olds who care more about American Girl dolls than ANYTHING take the time to formulate hatred and disgust for you. Wait til my two year old hears about his anti Elmo stance….


Frontline and Sesame Street may be threatened? And remember The Electric Company? (Just found the series on DVD!) PBS’s programming is about the only thing on tv of any worth. It fits all of our family.
Seriously, can Bush possibly do any more damage?


Who needs Elmo when you’ve got Bill O’Reilly? He loves kids too!


Ugh. I hate food scares. It seems that you can’t eat anything these days without the opportunity of getting food poisoning.
I think that the rise in misbehavior is often due to parenting (not the parents), but I don’t have kids, so my theories are just that – theories.


Now Elmo’s mommy and daddy will have to work overtime to make ends meet. Elmo will act out due to the lack of supervision. Eventually, Elmo will shoplift tainted spinach from Hoopers store, and will set fire to oscar’s trash can (“Elmo loves fire!”)with pants full of e-coli soup.
He will end up in Juvie as a burden to the taxpayers.
Bush will try to blame Elmo’s parents for all of this, but we will know better, won’t we?

Alice Bradley

Yay, Meghan pulled it all together!


My sister came down with the ecoli! and she blogged about it! and she’s a vegetarian, which makes it Oh So Much more painful on the ego