Friday, October 22, 2010

Parenting: November Issue

Another month, another issue of Parenting to dissect. This month, I’m annoyed anew by the section headings and tips, which include things like “mom {lovelife},” which instructs me to ask my spouse some “fun queries” to get to know him again; “mom {snacks},” which suggests I “Make schroom!” for frozen deep-fried mushrooms as an alternative to a chocolate bar for my “3 o’clock sweets craving”; and “mom {beauty},” which suggests I use a product called Shimmerskin to give my décolletage a shimmery sheen for holiday open houses. I’m sure Shimmerskin will look wonderful next to the smeared avocado and babyspit my chest usually sports.

On to more pressing matters: family {play}. This month, the playtime game suggestions have a Thanksgiving theme. To be honest, they’re not as awful as usual. Collecting pinecones and leaves for a centerpiece: fun. Making placemats with pictures of things you’re thankful for and laminating them: fun. Drawing and coloring hand turkeys: classic fun. But rest assured, there were two fine specimens for my commentary:

“Be corny. Have a cornhusking contest! Hand the kids five ears of corn each (give tiny guys fewer to make it fair) and see who can finish first. Don’t tell them they’re helping you get some of your dinner prep work done!”

COMMENTARY: First of all, doesn’t this seem like an awful lot of corn? I imagine a group of five or so kids, each with five ears of corn…That’s a pretty hefty corn platter. Second, corn on the cob has never screamed “THANKSGIVING!” to me, maybe because corn isn’t really in season in November, and maybe because the horn of plenty in my family is generally filled with sweet potatoes, squash, stuffing, cranberries, and the like. This just seems odd.

“Let your kid cater. A simple appetizer that kids can make: Wrap the top halves of thin breadsticks with prosciutto. Arrange 12 on a plate and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Call them ‘Nate’s Silly Sticks’ and let your chef pass them around.”

COMMENTARY: Take it down a thousand, overzealous copyeditor. What sort of cured meat should be wrapped on the breadsticks? Be specific. How many breadsticks should be arranged on a plate? Unclear. What could these appetizers be called? Need a funny name here. Second, I really, really hate this funny name. Why couldn’t they be called something Thanksgiving-y, like, oh, Harvest Sticks or Turkey Toppers or something? Finally, if I one day want to encourage Lucia to take a stab at kid-friendly cooking, wouldn’t I want her to make something she’d actually want to eat? Like ants on a log or cheese and crackers or toasted butter squares*? Though who knows—maybe she’ll love prosciutto (who doesn’t, really?).

To finish off this monthly post, I’d like to comment on a heavily subtitled article on page 113, “Little Angels (Yeah, Right!) Bedtime battles, sibling rivalry, public tantrums, and more—we’ve got the toddler-taming tricks you need.” I don’t yet have a toddler, so I can’t speak to how I’ll react once Lucia starts talking back and testing me and tantrumming (though she’s too perfect for those things, of course). What I’m pretty sure of, however, is that I will not be encouraging good behavior in stores by praising Lucia after a successful, non-tantrum outing with the following recommended line: “Wow, we just went shopping and you didn’t whine the entire time!” Doesn’t that just make you—no matter how old you are—want to whine like hell? It does me. It’s such a passive-aggressive, snarky thing to say to a kid. But really, what do I know. Perhaps I’ll try it on Andrew sometime. “Wow, we just got up super-early to take Lucia to the doctor and you didn’t make a big fuss about it! Good for you!”

Until next month.

*buttered toast cut into small squares, a favorite Orlando family bedtime snack.


Sara said...

I have been waiting for this post because I recently remembered that when I used to get this magazine, there was an article on money-saving tips, one of which was to pinch your toilet paper rolls so it's harder to unwind the toilet paper. So supposedly you use less. Ummmm.... that is going to save me so much money.
And, proscuitto-wrapped breadsticks called "Nate's silly sticks?" Seriously? How did the overzealous copy-writer not catch the innuendo there?

Tamara said...

I love that you're dissecting Parenting magazine. I find some of their topics and "helpful" tips to be less than.
Sometimes the views appear guilt inducing, if you're child isn't walking by this age or talking by that age you should see a doctor.
Some kids excel in one area, but struggle in another. How is that any different than what we go through as adults?
Parenting Magazine just perpetuates the stress parents are already feeling.
The best advice; all children learn in their own due time.
This coming from a mother of 5, who's been raising children for the last 17 years.