WTF – Eggo Waffles = Child Abuse?

I met a friend at the park today. While we were chatting, she mentioned that another member a parenting board she belongs to posted a statement that feeding your child Eggo waffles was child abuse. We had a laugh about how ridiculous that was at the time, but honestly it’s been on my mind all day.

It’s not that I’m a huge fan of Eggo waffles, it’s that this mother’s post is indicative of a larger trend I see in many parenting communities, especially online ones where there’s little or no face-to-face interaction. The trend, as far as I can tell, is to make a certain decision, say for example not to buy Eggo waffles, and then decide that anyone else on the planet who makes a different decision is not only an idiot, but an abusive, neglectful, awful parent. This could be applied to just about any parenting practice from spanking to formula feeding to what you choose to feed your children to what type of school you choose.

So let’s look at the facts. Eggo waffles are processed food, no doubt. However, in larger picture of unhealthful food available to people in this country, they’re not really that bad. No trans fats, no corn syrup, no artificial colors (see the ingredient list here). So what does claiming that feeding a child this rather innocuous food (I won’t go as far as to call Kellogg’s innocuous, you’ll note) accomplish? It makes the mother who posted the statement feel better about her food choices and makes those Eggo waffle-eating families out there either angry or hurt. It does nothing, however, to improve the types of food that are available to our children in this country, nothing to combat the industrialization of our food, nothing to help educate the public at large about what food choices are good or healthy. It not only spews venom, but it belittles the plight of many children in this country who are abused, who would feel lucky (not to mention full!) if they had access to an Eggo waffle for their breakfast, who don’t have adequate access to healthcare, clothing, shelter, or other basic necessities.

People, we’re on the same team here. Yes, all of us. Even the parents who make different choices, even the people who decide to go back to work (or stay home, depending on which side of this issue you find yourself), even the old friend from college who knowingly proclaims that there is no nutritional benefit to breastfeeding a baby past nine months of age when she knows that I have, in fact, been breastfeeding continuously for almost three years, and *GASP* even the people who spank their kids, feed them Eggo waffles, or whatever.

If your goal is to make the world a better place for your children, putting down other parents and perpetuating a hateful “us against them” mentality is not going to do it. Saying things online that I wager you’d never say in person is not going to do it. Engaging people in dialog might. Sharing your research and the reasons for your choices in a respectful and constructive way might. Considering the real possibility that there is more than one right answer might. Understanding that each family has to make the choices that work for their family and that what works for you may not be the very best thing for another person also might.

Whew. And I don’t even like Eggo waffles…

Adventures in night-weaning

After toughing it out with varying levels of sleep deprivation over the past year, this weekend we finally made the tough decision to night-wean Miss Lily. This past month a combination of teething and a potential food allergy (more on that later!) has left her waking up consistently every 45-75 minutes all night long and sometimes taking up to half an hour of nursing/cuddling to settle back down to sleep.

By this weekend I was frantic, cranky, and just so, so bone tired that I didn’t feel like I could function. Matt has been great about taking the kids on the weekends so I can sleep, but his work schedule during the week, coupled with the fact that Lily & Gabriel rarely nap at the same time, left me with 5 long sleep-deprived days to survive between each weekend. So we used part of our date-day on Sunday to browse the parenting book section at Border’s and came home with the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers.

A sleep log of a couple of nights illustrated that Lily was getting less than 8 hours of sleep at night, even though she was in bed for close to 12 hours and that I was getting about half that much. So we came up with a sleep plan that has Matt & I splitting the night into two shifts and teaching Lily to sleep without nursing. Old habits are hard to break and the first night was pretty rough, but last night we all got some sleep and things are looking quite a bit sunnier today.

Another really helpful article, if you find yourself in our sleep-deprived position, comes from Dr. Jay Gordon’s web site: http://drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp . It’s a very gentle approach (although honestly, I feel NCSS is very gentle too).

I feel better just knowing we have a plan. It’s helping me avoid the dread I usually feel each night before going to bed and also making me feel like there might be a sleep-filled light at the end of this tunnel…

I love my Babyhawk!

I’ve been meaning to post for about a month on my latest babycarrier–a Babyhawk Mei Tai–purchased from our local carrier goddess, Karen at Eesti Slings. Lily loves it and goes to sleep in an instant. Even Gabriel seems to enjoy a ride on Mommy’s back from time to time, especially when he’s worn out from running in the Denver Botanic Garden!!

Lily in the Babyhawk

Anyhow, if you’re in the market for a versatile, easy carrier that looks great and is easy to use, a Babyhawk may fit the bill!

MySpace Displays its Ignorance Yet Again…

My pal over at CrunchyDomesticGoddess let me know about this latest blunder from MySpace…Apparently the powers that be have removed a very discreet picture of a nursing mama and threatened her with deleting her account if she continues to post pictures. The charge? It “violates MySpace policies against nudity and sexually suggestive images.” Excuse me?

Let me point out the number of news stories flooding the wires about young girls masquerading as legal and meeting up with older men (or, conversely, older men masquerading as younger to meet up with young women). On the few occasions that I’ve attempted to search for anyone on MySpace, I have found dozens of pictures of scantily-clad and/or suggestive photos. The breastfeeding one they’re complaining about here is so totally harmless and probably shows less skin than the usual Abercrombie & Fitch ad.

Come on MySpace. Get a grip.