Monday, January 24, 2011

Parenting: February Issue

Another month, and an über-redesigned Parenting magazine. Gone are the { } in the section headings. Gone, in fact, are any clear headings altogether. In fact, when I first realized the magazine had undergone a mini-facelift, I sort of got the feeling it had gone to press without any of its proper design elements in place—the section headings look bland, like a draft copy, and who even knows what the sections are now. They seem to include “Right Now,” “Offspring,” and “Stylebook,” among others, but it’s hard to tell. More über-irritating is the fact that the headings are capitalized—except for one letter. So we have RIGHT NoW, OFFSPRiNG, FAMiLY, LET’S EaT, and so on. Why? Why is one letter not capitalized? Trying to figure out these heading mysteries this month threatened to keep me from finding content for my commentary.

Fear not; I found some. Let’s dive in. I had a hard time with the über-haphazardly capitalized article “fun FOR ALL!”, which proposes several themed activities that children from age two through age twelve can all partake in. For example, with painting, the two-year-old can throw the paint on the floor and the twelve-year-old can copy an Old Master print. That’s my own example, but that’s sort of the gist. They weren’t all über-terrible ideas—indeed, there is much fun to be had in making rubber-stamp art and stringing beads. But this “fun FOR ALL” idea is hard to sustain. When it comes to bubbles, the little kids get to have fun blowing and chasing bubbles, while the older kids get to…take pictures of the little kids having fun. I save my commentary for this bit, however—a suggestion for a sidewalk chalk activity for eight- to twelve-year-olds:

“Have your child make a funny pose on the cement, and then draw his outline; he’ll have fun adding in the details.”

COMMENTARY: Basically, what you’re doing here is making a police outline of a murder victim, right? There’s nothing wrong with this, but let’s not pretend the kid’s going to draw in suspenders and a bowtie. It’s the jumping-off point for a game of über-CSI.

It continues: “An older child will enjoy tracing your shadow, or the shadow of a tree—and watching it change as the day goes on.”

COMMENTARY: Really? Will an older child really enjoy this? Because it sounds like a deadly über-boring activity, as well as one that will take approximately thirty seconds to complete. I suppose this older child will then sit by the traced shadow with a cup of tea and note the changing position of the sun in the hours that follow. Please.

And yes, it still continues: “Drawing an outline of a puddle is a great demonstration of the concept of evaporation.”

COMMENTARY: Sure, this may be a great demonstration etc etc. But why is this poor older kid being forced to learn about evaporation while the younger kids get to draw roads and shapes on the sidewalk?

I have one more point to make about this month’s issue. I don’t want to waste too much time on this, because I already wasted time actually reading the article. Yes, I’m talking about the interview with Kourtney Kardashian. This is, I think, the first time I’ve seen a “celebrity” on the cover of Parenting, and I really hope it’s the last. Parenting is already a pretty useless magazine as far as useful parenting information goes; if I want celebrity gossip, I’ll subscribe to something else. Related to this are my über-thoughts on a new section of the magazine: Stylebook. Because really, the reason one might choose to subscribe to a parenting magazine is to see random couples dressed up in horrible clothes. And don’t get me started on “Look Like a Star!”, which, I fear, is also going to be a regular feature. I don’t care where I can buy a jacket like Jessica Alba’s! It has nothing to do with parenting! I can’t even provide any commentary!

Finally, I knew this issue was going to be a doozy when I saw one of the headlines on the cover: “‘I love crafts!’—One Dad’s Confession.” Crafts are so very shameful.

Until next time…

PS: Hey, overzealous copyeditor? Please note that overusing über is über-annoying.


Sara said...

I got a subscription offer for this magazine over the weekend and thought of you. But I didn't subscribe. I'll just read your commentary every month--way more entertaining. :)

Lori Skoog said...

Margo...I can't load photos to my blog, and saw your address when I looked for help. Did you figure out how to make it work? I need help...

Margo said...


It turned out to be my security software. After I "unchecked" a lot of the security options it worked fine. Try to play around with your security software options and see if that works!