Halloween is tomorrow and I’m really excited. It’s fun to dress up in costume, walk the neighborhood and see people opening their doors with a smile… and the scrooges who turn off their lights but you know they’re totally there. The candy part isn’t bad, either. I started Weight Watchers yesterday, so I can’t eat an entire plastic pumpkin full of chocolate, but I can have a few pieces. Yay for Twix and Snickers!
I don’t consider myself all that uptight but I’ve gotta tell you – a couple of trips through party stores, costume shops and glances at Facebook photos has me shaking my head about the state of little girl costumes today, if you can call them costumes. I’m not the first person to write about the sexualization of little girls, but it’s getting to be a bit much, even for my taste.
Disclaimer: I have no issue with slutty adult costumes (unless you’re wearing it at your 6 year old’s costume party) – after all, Halloween is about having fun and being someone or something different for a day. (If that’s not different for you, then, more power to you, I guess?) My issue is with costumes for young, impressionable girls who in my opinion are sexualizing themselves waaayyy too early. And the parents who are letting it happen.
I’m not saying that dressing like a slut on Halloween will buy you a one-way ticket to 16 and Pregnant, but parents – please think about what message you are sending when you send your young girl out on the street looking like a hooker.
Admittedly, I haven’t had to deal with the angry wails of a tween girl who says that I’m the Worst.Mother.In.The.World for not letting her wear a thong over her Daisy Dukes or saying her shirt is cut so low I can see her ankles, but I’m afraid that the problem with kids dressing inappropriately is a direct result of parents who are afraid to say NO.
For the most part, even though some little girl superhero costumes are short and have tight bodices, I see nothing overtly sexual about them. Probably because there is nothing overtly sexual about a 5 year old. But it’s a slippery slope. Wonder Woman costume barely covers your 9 year old’s kooka? Slap on a pair of leggings or shorts underneath.
We’re afraid that our kids won’t like us – we want them to confide in us and let us into their inner circle. But there is a time for that when they’re off on their own. Young children need parents to give them direction, to let them know what is okay and what isn’t acceptable. I don’t see why showing your ass cheeks is a “must-do” or being in danger of a nip slip is required to look good. I’d rather have my kid say they hate me now than dry her tears at 14 when she doesn’t understand why the boys gossip that she’s a slut while simultaneously trying to get her into bed.
If you think I’m being overly dramatic and insane, check out these costumes, which start at size Child 4-6.
What do you think? Am I just having a bad day or do you agree?
Oh, and Happy Halloween I will post pictures of our non-sexy Elmo and Spiderman in the next few days…
I wanted all of us to have this at our fingertips…
By EMILY RAPP
MY son, Ronan, looks at me and raises one eyebrow. His eyes are bright and focused. Ronan means “little seal” in Irish and it suits him.
I want to stop here, before the dreadful hitch: my son is 18 months old and will likely die before his third birthday. Ronan was born with Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disorder. He is slowly regressing into a vegetative state. He’ll become paralyzed, experience seizures, lose all of his senses before he dies. There is no treatment and no cure.
How do you parent without a net, without a future, knowing that you will lose your child, bit by torturous bit?
Depressing? Sure. But not without wisdom, not without a profound understanding of the human experience or without hard-won lessons, forged through grief and helplessness and deeply committed love about how to be not just a mother or a father but how to be human.
Parenting advice is, by its nature, future-directed. I know. I read all the parenting magazines. During my pregnancy, I devoured every parenting guide I could find. My husband and I thought about a lot of questions they raised: will breast-feeding enhance his brain function? Will music class improve his cognitive skills? Will the right preschool help him get into the right college? I made lists. I planned and plotted and hoped. Future, future, future.
We never thought about how we might parent a child for whom there is no future. The prenatal test I took for Tay-Sachs was negative; our genetic counselor didn’t think I needed the test, since I’m not Jewish and Tay-Sachs is thought to be a greater risk among Ashkenazi Jews. Being somewhat obsessive about such matters, I had it done anyway, twice. Both times the results were negative.
Our parenting plans, our lists, the advice I read before Ronan’s birth make little sense now. No matter what we do for Ronan — choose organic or non-organic food; cloth diapers or disposable; attachment parenting or sleep training — he will die. All the decisions that once mattered so much, don’t.
All parents want their children to prosper, to matter. We enroll our children in music class or take them to Mommy and Me swim class because we hope they will manifest some fabulous talent that will set them — and therefore us, the proud parents — apart. Traditional parenting naturally presumes a future where the child outlives the parent and ideally becomes successful, perhaps even achieves something spectacular. Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is only the latest handbook for parents hoping to guide their children along this path. It’s animated by the idea that good, careful investments in your children will pay off in the form of happy endings, rich futures.
But I have abandoned the future, and with it any visions of Ronan’s scoring a perfect SAT or sprinting across a stage with a Harvard diploma in his hand. We’re not waiting for Ronan to make us proud. We don’t expect future returns on our investment. We’ve chucked the graphs of developmental milestones and we avoid parenting magazines at the pediatrician’s office. Ronan has given us a terrible freedom from expectations, a magical world where there are no goals, no prizes to win, no outcomes to monitor, discuss, compare.
But the day-to-day is often peaceful, even blissful. This was my day with my son: cuddling, feedings, naps. He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and … healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words. We encourage him to do what he can, though unlike us he is without ego or ambition.
Ronan won’t prosper or succeed in the way we have come to understand this term in our culture; he will never walk or say “Mama,” and I will never be a tiger mom. The mothers and fathers of terminally ill children are something else entirely. Our goals are simple and terrible: to help our children live with minimal discomfort and maximum dignity. We will not launch our children into a bright and promising future, but see them into early graves. We will prepare to lose them and then, impossibly, to live on after that gutting loss. This requires a new ferocity, a new way of thinking, a new animal. We are dragon parents: fierce and loyal and loving as hell. Our experiences have taught us how to parent for the here and now, for the sake of parenting, for the humanity implicit in the act itself, though this runs counter to traditional wisdom and advice.
NOBODY asks dragon parents for advice; we’re too scary. Our grief is primal and unwieldy and embarrassing. The certainties that most parents face are irrelevant to us, and frankly, kind of silly. Our narratives are grisly, the stakes impossibly high. Conversations about which seizure medication is most effective or how to feed children who have trouble swallowing are tantamount to breathing fire at a dinner party or on the playground. Like Dr. Spock suddenly possessed by Al Gore, we offer inconvenient truths and foretell disaster.
And there’s this: parents who, particularly in this country, are expected to be superhuman, to raise children who outpace all their peers, don’t want to see what we see. The long truth about their children, about themselves: that none of it is forever.
I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. I would take my chances on a stripped battlefield with a sling and a rock à la David and Goliath if it would make a difference. But it won’t. I can roar all I want about the unfairness of this ridiculous disease, but the facts remain. What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go.
But today Ronan is alive and his breath smells like sweet rice. I can see my reflection in his greenish-gold eyes. I am a reflection of him and not the other way around, and this is, I believe, as it should be. This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.
NEWS from CPSC and HC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2011
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (855) 242-2245
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
HC Media Contact: (613) 957-2983
Jogging Strollers Recalled by B.O.B. Trailers Due to Choking Hazard
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.
Name of Product: B.O.B.(r) single and double strollers
Units: About 411,700 in the United States and 27,000 in Canada (357,000 units were recalled in February 2011 due to strangulation hazard posed by canopy drawstring)
Importer: B.O.B. Trailers Inc., of Boise, Idaho
Hazard: The stroller canopy’s embroidered logo’s backing patch can detach, posing a choking hazard to babies and young children.
Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received six reports of children mouthing the detached patch. Gagging and choking were reported in two incidents. The backing was removed from the children’s mouth without injury. In each of the reported incidents, the children were seated in an infant car seat attached to the stroller.
Description: This recall involves all B.O.B. strollers manufactured between November 1998 and November 2010. Strollers manufactured after October 2006 have a white label affixed to the back of the stroller’s leg with the manufacturing date. Strollers with no manufacturing date listed were produced prior to October 2006 and are included in this recall. The strollers were sold in single seat and double-seat models. The BOB(r), Ironman(r) or Stroller Strides(r) brand name is embroidered on the canopy of the strollers.
Sold at: REI, Babies R’ Us and other children’s product and sporting goods stores nationwide and Amazon.com between November 1998 and October 2011 for between $280 and $600.
Manufactured in: Taiwan and China
Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers until they remove the embroidery backing patch from the interior of the canopy’s logo. Consumers should contact B.O.B. Trailers for instructions on removing the backing.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact B.O.B. Trailers toll-free at (855) 242-2245 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.bobnotices.com
Note: Health Canada’s press release is available at http://cpsr-rspc.hc-sc.gc.ca/PR-RP/recall-retrait-eng.jsp?re_id=1411
To see this recall on CPSC’s web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12006.html
People say that the interior of your car says a lot about you in terms of pride and personal hygiene.
That’s actually not true, but I bet somebody said this once. Or maybe I said it just now and that’s the first anyone ever heard of it. But if it’s true, I am a prideless slob.
The inside of my car looks like World War III. I know when you have kids it’s expected that crumbs will accumulate and maybe some sticky armrests and fingerprinted windows, but my car is just beyond nasty.
Each day, I do my best to shove some raisins off the mat and into a parking lot or dig some sticky Fig Newton out of a crevice, even going as far as vacuuming once a month, but it’s never enough.
Little back story – towards the end of the summer, we noticed that my car started smelling odd, but we attributed it to being in the hot garage with the trash cans. Yummy. Then, over time, it began smelling worse and worse until it smelled like a Port-a-Potty and it should have been illegal for me to drive in it with kids. I searched high and low, vacuumed it out, kept the windows down at all times and got the number for a detailing place around me. But within a few days the smell diminished somewhat, or maybe I just got used to it because it came roaring back. I planned to get the car detailed, but it kept raining and the place wasn’t open when it rained because it doubled as a car wash.
One day Cory was driving Ryan somewhere when he dropped a ball or something in the car. When Cory eventually searched for it, he reached deep under one of the seats in a recessed area I had never discovered and he pulled out a TWO MONTH OLD BOTTLE OF SOUR MILK. So that was the disgusting culprit. The smell went away shortly after Cory’s discovery. Yay!
We are taking family in the car this weekend on a trip to Philly for a party so I have to get it detailed this week. I’m almost embarrassed to bring the car in in its current state. It’s really beyond vacuuming at this point. I’m also a little sad to see all of the mess gone because it tells a story – a story of snacking and sipping and dropped bottles and raisins and sticky squeezy applesauce and cereal bars and lollipops and pointing out the window at something funny.
Actually, it’s really not all that deep and emotional. If I’m being honest I just don’t feel like being without a car for three hours. I won’t miss the mess at all because it will reappear within three days.
Am I alone in my lack of car hygiene?
What does your car say about you?