Thursday, October 27, 2005
Attachment not so easy I found your article "Adopting Lisa" (October 2005) interesting, although I doubt Ms. Kosmos’ statement that " ... within three days, Lisa was very attached to all of us."
As an adoptive mother of a 5-year-old daughter from Russia and an avid reader on adoption issues, I can assure Ms. Kosmos that it would be nothing short of a miracle if her daughter was truly bonded and attached in three days. A child’s deprivation and multiple caregivers have a huge impact on his or her ability to form healthy attachments.
I was glad to see the section on Illinois’ revamped adoption law, but was disappointed nothing was included to mandate education for potential adoptive parents on bonding, language transition, assisting with grief, loss and anxiety, and learning and behavioral issues.
It’s been nearly three years and my daughter (and our family) are healing and (finally) attached.
KAREN JACOBSEN Naperville
Early intervention is key Great article on dyslexia (October 2005). I am dyslexic and the mother of a pre-med college junior dyslexic. Intervention before fourth grade is the key. Unfortunately, the U.S. education system continues to ignore the research.
These kids make up the largest group of our learning disabled population and receive the fewest resources. Ironically, early intervention for 80 percent of this group would dramatically change their lives. Putting time and money in their early school years will save our children, and billions too.
SADIE CALVIN River Forest
Affordable cord blood bank Your article "Banking on baby’s umbilical cord" (October 2005) provided a wonderful overview, but I was disappointed it suggested that most families can’t afford it. Recently, Cord Partners began offering deferred payments for six months and a $269 annual fee. In other words, no up-front costs.
KRISTIN VISGER Los Angeles, Calif.
TV provides needed break I’m the mom of a 17-month-old boy who read your article about TV watching (September 2005).
I especially took note of the section that said "no TV for children under 2." You say parents turn to programs such as "Baby Einstein" because companies market them as being educational. But I suspect many of us do it out of sheer exhaustion.
I was lucky enough to spend three months with my family in India when my son was 12 months old. It was incredible. Television was unnecessary as he had constant companionship from grandparents, neighbors, relatives and friends. There is still an extended family mentality where children are taken care of by a community of people.
Now that I’m back, I find myself turning on the TV for him almost daily, and I’m feeling guilty.
The Western world wants us to give children the benefits of attachment parenting by breastfeeding, co-sleeping, holding and playing with our children—all singlehandedly. I am trying to entertain my son all day, while also cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, buying groceries and paying bills.
My husband works 14-hour days, five days a week. He is so exhausted that I am still doing most of the caretaking for our son. There are times when I need a break—not to read a book or take a bath, but to clean the kitchen or fold the laundry.
BIPASHA SHOM Chicago
Raising kids a job, too As a stay-at-home mom, part-time fitness instructor and piano teacher, I took offense to Susy Schultz’s column (October 2005).
I used to work full time for a large company. After my son was born I was offered the financial manager position and turned it down for two reasons—relocation and because there was no more important "job" than raising my children.
The column implies that because someone has chosen to raise her children herself, she is not "making something of herself." I believe we have to ask ourselves not only what is fulfilling for ourselves but what benefits our children.
Hannah Rosenthal also states that a "high school girl today should expect to work for 30 years for pay, full time, outside the home" for financial reasons. But what are realistic financial reasons? Putting food on the table or taking several vacations a year? Being able to afford health insurance or buying tons of toys and gadgets? In our materialistic society, I feel the "necessity" of the dual income is often inflated.
There are exceptions to my point of view. Schultz should realize there are exceptions to hers, also.
LISA STEINBRENNER Bartlett
Women deserve a choice Like you, I read the article in the New York Times about women at elite colleges who choose motherhood over careers. Unlike you, I didn’t turn red at this article; rather, I turned red at Susy Schultz’s column (October, 2005).
I read the Times article to say these women will have a choice because their spouse likely will earn a good income. I believe the purpose was to point out among women who have the choice, more are choosing motherhood. What is wrong with that?
I admire your nieces’ dreams, but perhaps when they grow up and become working mothers they will find themselves thinking they can’t do it all. Does that make them a failure? Certainly not.
LAURA WALKER Des Plaines
Where’s men’s movement? I read Susy Schultz’s column (October 2005) and once again felt that familiar emptiness at the term "women’s movement." As a divorce lawyer, wife and mother I find that most women believe choices exist and are living those choices. The problem is most women are stressed, living lopsided lives (giving and giving to everyone else) and dealing with tough choices (work vs. stay home). Why? Because we are missing the other half of the picture—the men’s movement.
When are we going to start expecting men to be at home when we are at work?
What worries me is that I am a wife of a wonderful man, successful partner of a law firm and mother of beautiful, healthy children and I’m not sure whether I want for my own daughter what I have.
The men’s movement is far behind our own. A man’s progress at nurturing and caring at home must receive the same encouragement as women at work or we will find ourselves floundering for a very long time.
CHARMAINE AUGUSTIN Evanston
Clarifying what I said Thank you for your article about mercury in kids’ vaccines (August 2005).
I want to clarify a statement I made in that article. When I said that the level of mercury in vaccines is safe if you weigh 500 pounds, I was referring specifically to the amount of mercury in flu vaccines.
Some flu vaccines contain as much as 25 micrograms of mercury, which according to standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a safe level for people who weigh 500 pounds.
Although the government has ordered some mercury-free flu vaccines (mercury in vaccines is contained in the preservative thimerosal), they have not ordered nearly enough for the number of pregnant women and children expected to receive flu shots this year.
For more information, please contact the National Vaccine Information Center (www.909shot.com), Unlocking Autism (www.unlockingautism.org) or Safe Minds (www.safeminds.org).
ELAINE FRICK Chicago
No harm in Tickle U Your editorial "Write to save your kids" (October 2005) took me by surprise. I cannot understand why you would want readers to write letters to Cartoon Network asking them to remove Tickle U when so many other vile and satanic cartoons are on the same network. Tickle U represents the innocence preschoolers so desperately need. We should solicit the removal of "Yu-Gi-Oh GX," "Dragon Ball Z" and "Adult Swim" cartoons. Whoever is responsible for leading this rally against Tickle U should reevaluate their values.LORI WALLACE Chicago Kids need funny TV Chicago Parent’s editorial on children and television (October 2005) got one thing exactly right—use of TV in the home is a private, parental choice. Setting limits and choosing appropriate programs are important family decisions. The condemnation of Cartoon Network’s Tickle U was off base, however. Producers of educational children’s programs often work from research by inference. When "Sesame Street" was launched, the creators knew a lot about how children learn and had theories about how TV could aid that process. The educational benefits of that landmark series are well proven. Similarly, Tickle U—researched and designed by a former educator and head of PBS children’s programming—is taking what’s known about the importance of fostering toddlers’ emerging sense of humor and applying it to television. In a world where we often complain about kids getting old too fast, and having too much access to the disturbing 24/7 news cycle, can there be anything wrong with giving little kids something to laugh about? DAVID KLEEMAN President of the American Center for Children and Media, Chicago No sense of humor As an educator and the mother of three children ages 3 to 26, I can speak personally and professionally about the changes in early childhood education over the last 20 years. What I’ve seen is younger children being force-fed academic skills that are not age-appropriate and rob children of their childhood. And it’s not just our children who are being rushed. I feel as though motherhood has morphed into some kind of competitive sport. If I don’t sign my kids up for enough enrichment classes, I’m a bad mom. Our children grow up fast enough. I want to help create experiences that let my two youngest, Charlie, 3, and Rosie, 7, enjoy this time of their lives. When Cartoon Network asked me to help develop programming for younger viewers, the importance of childhood inspired us. We read through research on play, and what emerged was the value of supporting our children’s sense of humor and optimism. Humor that’s appealing to kids is what THEY find funny, not what amuses grown-ups. Admit it—the hurtful lie we all remember from childhood is some grown-up laughing at something we did and saying, "Don’t be upset—I’m not laughing AT you, I’m laughing WITH you." But we weren’t laughing. We know from research that kids who develop a sense of humor are smart. We also know kids can learn to create and appreciate humor, and that the kids who do tend to have an easier, more successful time. So yes, our Tickle U programming on Cartoon Network (Monday-Friday, 9-11 a.m.) wants to make your child smile. Those giggles are not only delicious for parents to hear, but darned good for kids. Only folks with no sense of humor at all could take issue with that. Too bad Tickle U wasn’t around when they were kids. ALICE CAHN Vice president programming and development, Cartoon Network Editor’s note: We welcome criticism of our editorials and sense of humor, but it is important to note that what we said stands: There is no research showing television viewing helps children develop a sense of humor. But there is research showing television viewing can be harmful to preschoolers.