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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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