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