Stay at home, proud as well As a white stay-at-home mom with a graduate degree, I really appreciated Laurie Brummett's essay, "Say it loud: ‘I stay at home and I'm proud.'" (August 2003) Despite the stereotype that it is somehow "natural" for white women to stay home with their kids, I identified with many of Ms. Brummett's scenarios involving the perceptions and expectations of others. I also appreciated gaining some insight on how our common experiences are differently racialized among the people we know and in society at large. Most of all, I was fortified by Ms. Brummett's pride in how she spends her days, her refusal to apologize or explain away her choice and her sense of humor through it all. I hope to see more essays from her in the future. BARBARA WEBB, Chicago
Another autism resource I want to compliment Chicago Parent on its autism article (April 2003) and the resources available. Your magazine is a wonderful resource for those with children with disabilities because of the lists of support groups for various needs.
I would like to just mention one resource we have found very helpful for our autistic son: Autism Research Review, 4182 Adams Ave., San Diego, Calif., (619) 281-7165. It is a good alternative for those who want to use natural supplements first before using drugs.
The newsletter reviews biomedical and educational research on autism and related disorders. You can call for a packet of information on nutritional supplements specifically designed to help autistic individuals. The review also published a test to discover if your family member may have autistic tendencies. CAROL SPALE, North Riverside
Soy supporters are suspect I was quite distressed to read Anne Taulane's article "Got Soy Milk?" in the August 2003 issue of Chicago Parent.
This uncritical portrayal of a fringe organization as "advocates for healthy school lunches" does a disservice to parents who trust your publication to provide reliable, reasoned assessment of issues affecting their children.
The so-called Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine is, in fact, a radical animal-rights group disguised under a thin veneer of concern over health issues. Only 5 percent of its members are physicians, representing a tiny fraction of the medical community. The American Medical Association has publicly denounced PCRM's recommendations as "irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans." PCRM discourages contributions to such respectable charities as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association because they fund medical research involving experimental animals. Public statements such as "Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use" reveal the absurdity of PCRM's positions.
Undiagnosed allergies and lactose intolerance (two very different medical problems not carefully distinguished in the article) are genuine problems that need to be addressed. There is no question that we must provide better access to medical care for all children and that schools and parents should be partners in ensuring appropriate treatment for children with diagnosed ailments. PCRM is not advocating improved medical care, it is simply trying to ram vegetarianism down the throats of unsuspecting children in the guise of "healthy school lunches." JONATHAN VISICK, Assistant Professor of Biology, North Central College, Naperville
Bad manners a bad idea Words can hardly convey how appalled I was to read "Forget the manners, double the fun," (July 2003) following as it did hard on the heels of a "great" party suggestion to dispense with wasteful treat bags. It would have been more valuable to learn how many of the piggish guests went home and used that parent-condoned rudeness on their own unsuspecting family.
What a perfect example of an adult trying to be the kids' pal instead of a good role model—a mature parent. What are Susy Schultz and Carol Knight teaching their kids and the neighbors and the world about how other people see us? That Americans have it so good that we can afford not only to throw away food left uneaten on our plates, but to plan to waste it too?
They will probably be the ones on the news who broke windows with thrown tomatoes, became the youngest monster truck driver, or set the 50-plus-hot-dogs-eaten-in-under-five-minutes record. I can't envision these poor souls as really growing up to put in time at the United Way, or planting a row for the hungry, or staffing a soup kitchen—voluntarily, of course, not as a service their school has ordered them to perform.
Food can be fun, but it sure doesn't need to be squandered. MAJA RAMIREZ, Chicago
Bad idea, part 2 I am a twice-yearly visitor to your wonderful city. As a parent of three children and a family educator, I always pick up your delightful magazine.
The article, "Forget the manners, double the fun" in your July 2003 issue really disturbed me. My 11-year-old son has, for the past two years, been invited to a food fight birthday party in a local park. My husband and I, with our son, had a serious discussion about the food that would just be wasted during the party. It seemed inappropriate when so many people go hungry.
The idea of relaxing rules and having a bad manners party is clever, and seems like it would appeal to that age crowd. It would probably be lots of fun without the food fight and wasted food. How about an article about family opportunities to work to end hunger (food bank, shelter, dining room)? Think what a powerful lesson that would be. SHERRY KNAZAN Petaluma, Calif.
Milk alternatives important In regards to your article titled ,"Advocates want to know: Got soy milk?" I, too, have a school-aged child who is lactose intolerant. While I think a nondairy alternative for school lunches is a great idea, my pediatrician mentioned that chocolate milk is processed differently than white milk, and can usually be tolerated by those who suffer from being lactose intolerance.
Another alternative could be orange juice fortified with calcium. Thank you for an informative article. STACEY HERNANDEZ,Vernon Hills
Thanks for your support Community Care Options' Buddy Place is completing its third year of offering comfort and healing to grieving children who have experienced the death of a parent or other significant caregiver.
We would like to thank the following community organizations and businesses for their support this past year: Community Memorial Foundation which got us established, LaGrange Memorial Hospital and its Chapter of Senior Friends, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Woman's Club, Fey Jewelers, Foran Funeral Home, Bill Adams Memorial Foundation, American Legion Post No. 1941, The Creative Door, The Helen M. Harrison Foundation, Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, Kiwanis Club of Riverside, LaBelle Gourmet, LaGrange Printers, Ledo's Pizza, Now Serving Cafe and Catering, Project Linus, Riverside Junior Woman's Club, Soroptimist International, Toys "R" Us/Babies "R" Us and St. John of the Cross Women's Club.
In addition, we want to recognize the many individuals who have made monetary donations in honor of loved ones. We are deeply grateful to these people and organizations, whose support ensures the important work of Buddy's Place can continue to serve grieving families with young children. LINDA MORAN, Berwyn
A bill coming due I am writing in regards to SB 101, a bill pending in the Illinois Legislature. I am horrified at the attempt to add a person's sexual orientation for protected class status to the Illinois Human Rights Act, which SB 101 will do. It will inevitably become law unless Illinois residents are informed of what this bill truly means and fight against its instatement.
It means that people who hold the religious view that homosexual acts are wrong will be discriminated against. Homosexual intolerance of Christians and of Christian doctrine will be protected by law. Ultimately, God loving and God fearing people will lose their religious liberty. Is this what our country is about? Tolerate only ONE point of view? Silence any other point of view that does not embrace the homosexual act and label them a homophobe? If you answered yes to those questions, you're NOT an American.
The instatement of this law would also mean that our government condones physically harmful acts that lead to higher rates of hepatitis, colon cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS in those who practice homosexual acts, according to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.
Since this bill pertains to a person's sexual orientation, thus keeping the language of the bill vague and obscure, it makes it easy to confuse homosexual acts with sexual crimes such as pedophilia. This bill could be used in the future to condone a wide array of sexual behaviors, even some deemed criminal.
I would urge Illinois residents who do not agree with this bill to contact their senator to see what his/her vote will be this fall.
Make sure your senator is serving YOU and not the special interest groups that pressure lawmakers to pass this bill.
Please call your senator and ask where they stand on SB 1010 and do it today. LESLIE DuFRESNE, Schuamburg
More Brummett essays Keep Laurie A. Brummett coming. Her article (August 2003) was so entertaining and enlightening.
I think weekly clothing sales are such a good idea I've suggested them to several friends whose children think the floor is the clothes hamper. We're going to take the money generated by our in-house clothing sales and start a monthly "girls lunch" outing. SHARI SCHMIDT, Palos Hills
Bravo for Brummett I enjoyed Say it Loud (August, 2003) by Laurie Brummett. As one who left the job world—as an attorney, in my case—her perspective was appreciated and I got some chuckles out of it.
In this "you are what you do" world, where housewifing is widely looked down on, only those who take on this all-important profession can know and understand the challenges.
I commend Laurie and those others who have stepped up to the cause of our kids and husbands. KATHERINE HARDESTY, Lisle
Next month In October, tell us how you handle the Halloween candy onslaught. Do you let the kids eat until they burst? Or parcel it out over the weeks? Do you send it to school? Or figure out a way to hide it? Deadline: Sept. 8. In November, we want to hear about your Thanksgiving traditions. Tell us what your family does to make this holiday memorable for your little people. Deadline: Oct. 6.
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