Chicago Parent Staff


Flip flops flopped

I was quite disappointed that you would chose to print such an upbeat article on flip flops ("Fab Mama," June 2008). I slogged through many Web-based testimonials about the supposed benefits of FitFlops, but further investigation revealed them to be mainly the voice of some "super-reviewers" and others enticed to write glowing reviews. So these manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank, at the expense of foot health and safety. Chicago Parent is usually so careful to warn us about recalled items, why not here?

That Kate Pancero breathes not a word as to the dangers rife in wearing flip flops is irresponsible. Finally, as a veteran cop, I want to caution parents: forget the cutesy colors and add-ons and think of what could happen if your teen drives in flip flops (precious seconds are lost when the brake or accelerator catches between a bare sole and a flip flop) or if a child has to run away from danger. Buy closed-toe shoes/sandals instead.

Maja Ramirez

Understating "innocence"

Laura Doyle's My Life essay "Losing Neverland" (June 2008) hit me hard. Like Doyle's mother, my mother did not want to talk about puberty or sex. She reluctantly provided brief and cold answers; I wanted a warm and reassuring discussion. She did the best that she could. I'd like to do better for my daughter. Surely Laura Doyle also wants to do better for her daughter, but how will she achieve that?

Two underlying beliefs seem to run through her essay. The first: when girls are informed about puberty and sex, they lose their childhood interests and their "innocence." The second: the longer that girls can be kept uninformed ("innocent"), the better off they are-ignorance is bliss.

I cannot understand why being informed about puberty and sex would cause any girl to stop playing with dolls, although it might stop sniggering and whispering (big improvement right there).

Ignorance is not bliss nor it is innocent. Is a child who looks at a book about puberty written for 'tweens "pointing and giggling like (a) teenage (boy) with a Penthouse" innocent? Contrary to Doyle's assertion that "100 percent of mothers suffer a mild heart attack when faced with the question" (of when they got their first period), I did not, and I suspect that many mothers don't, for many reasons. Why would they? Are periods shameful, embarrassing, dirty, sinful? If a woman feels they are, can she tell her daughter about them without also communicating her feelings?

I am sorry that Doyle learned about puberty and sex from the stories of Judy Blume, who has a lot to answer for in providing several generations of children with vulgar and ugly visions of puberty and sex, stories of kids growing up without parental guidance or wisdom. But Doyle can give her daughter something better-a vision of a girl's body and sexuality that is informed, confident and filled with grace. It is more important than a gift. It is her job.

Joan Reinke

Let the baby sleep

I just wanted to comment on your June article "Less sleep may mean more weight gain for kids" (June 2008). In my experience as a mother, allowing babies to sleep when they need to and be awake when they want to be awake is the key to them getting enough sleep and not having any weight issues. Lack of sleep does definitely seem to induce hunger.

Just as your article indicates, it is not so much a matter of set number of hours as it is making sure young babies and children get enough sleep.

Babies do let you know when they are ready to wake up. It seems to me that it is interferences in their sleep that create the problems. Just as we adults only wake up if we have to and then notice the difference in our health, appetite and overall sense of well being, infants and very young children will be out of sorts if awakened before they are ready; they will probably be more hungry than usual, because lack of sufficient sleep seems to definitely create more of an appetite. At the same, time, it seems to negatively impact enjoyment of food and ability to properly digest it if one is lacking sufficient sleep. Breastfeeding and being with mom are very helpful for infants because the baby is able to awaken and feed when he or she needs to, not when someone else decides she should awaken.

Mary Cantoral

Finding inspiration

Pete DiCianni is my latest hero! E-mails about Senate Bill 1900 (story appears in June 2008 issue) flash across my computer screen everyday.

I am one of the parents of a child with autism hoping that this bill will pass. I was stunned as well about the lack of insurance coverage for autism when my son was diagnosed six years ago.

I just wanted to send a thank you to Mr. DiCianni and his family for being proactive.

I believe I am doing the best I can for my son, but Mr. DiCianni's hard work inspires me to do more.

Tamara L. Harding

Disparaging attitudes

Within two pages of each other in the June 2008 Chicago Parent was a letter titled "Beware of your surroundings," warning men to respect other men's privacy in the restroom, and "A day outside the Improv," an essay bemoaning the absence of changing tables in men's restrooms.

It would seem that men are still not sure how they feel about taking an equal share in child care.

I say this because one of the first things a woman gives up when she has children, along with most of her spare time and money, is her privacy.

Somehow in our country it is more acceptable to see nude women than men. Does this attitude training begin as early as toddler age when little boys are able to accompany their mothers into the locker room and view other women until they are 5 to 8 years old, but men are not allowed to have children with them in the locker room at all? In the locker room, women are often changing and doing "what comes naturally." No one seems to be embarrassed about what comes naturally to women. Why is this different for men?

Some places have blessedly instituted family bathrooms, which solve everyone's convenience as well as privacy issues. Some even have family locker rooms-but I guarantee that any male in there is likely to run into harsh, suspicious stares, a topic covered not so long ago in regards to a father asked not to play with the other kids at a day care. Apparently we have some strong cultural taboos that need to be worked out before we can seriously address the idea of men and women bearing an equal role in child rearing in our society.

Autumn Parker
Mount Prospect

Reconsider fluoride

In regard to Ms. Palumbo's ("Good Sense Eating," June 2008) advice to a reader re: fluoridated water, perhaps this recommendation should be reconsidered.

Originally, decay-prevention tests with fluoride were carried out with calcium fluoride, yet sodium fluoride is the chemical added to city water supplies. Sodium fluoride is an extremely toxic chemical by-product of the aluminum industry and was expensive to dispose of until cities were persuaded to put it in the public water for tooth decay prevention. As a result of research in Europe, sodium fluoride treatment is now illegal in Sweden, Denmark and Holland.

Undesirable properties of sodium fluoridation include inhibited function of the thyroid gland and all enzyme systems. Damaged immune systems and resultant disorders such as lupus, scleroderma and some forms of arthritis are also linked. Fluorite, a naturally occurring compound of calcium and fluoride, is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a tranquilizer. Prozac, a modern antidepressant, is based upon the fluoride molecule. Don't our kids get enough toxic, mood-altering and potentially carcinogenic chemicals? Let's take some time to think about what we're giving our children.

Jennifer Henderson
Licensed clinical professional counselor


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