World War III could very well start over parenting disputes. Joining the Chinese and the French, the Italians have now entered the Axis of Superiority. How are the Italians better than us, you grumble? Their kids are culinary champions. Yet another expat rings in on the ways another culture is better when it comes to raising kids. This time, the mom in question lives in Rome and claims that leisurely mealtime experiences are an important part of the culture and the kids are expected to partake. While some restaurants here have instituted brat bans, she claims that even the top-rated restaurants in Italy welcome wee ones with open arms. She credits the Italians' love of all children as part of the reason it's possible for parents to gobble up all that delicious pasta without forking out for a sitter. We want to be annoyed but now we're too busy trying to decide whether we want gnocchi or ravioli for dinner.
Guten tag, it's Oktoberfest at your local preschool.
Ooh, look! An itty bitty beer stein for itty bitty hands. A preschool in Cincinnati has come under fire from one irate mom after they served the kiddos apple juice in shot-glass-size beer steins as part of a German celebration. The lesson was part of the school's program to teach kids about other countries. The mom had no problem with the lederhosen-wearing accordion player the school brought in, but strongly felt it was crossing a line to have preschoolers simulating alcohol consumption. She let the principal know what she thought about the matter, in such a manner that got her removed the premises. Do you think the mom has a valid concern or is it just a bit of harmless fun to let kids drink juice from a beer stein?
Crying baby on the plane makes for an emergency exit situation.
While we give kids miniature beer steins in honor of Germany and the Italians have perfected dining with kids, it seem that flying with small kids sucks no matter what country you're from. Flying with babies and small children is its own form of torture. Flying with a baby who won't stop crying could be classified as an "enhanced interrogation technique." A mom in Vietnam recently resorted to extreme measures as she struggled with her upset babe while the plane sat on the tarmac. Desperate to escape, she asked the man next to her to open the emergency exit door. He agreed. Poor guy, not only did he have to listen to a baby crying next to him, he then got fined $950 for trying to get that sad kid (and himself) a bit of peace. The mom didn't get to escape and nobody even got to use the slide, which makes us wonder if everyone on the plane was crying by the end of that little escapade. Also, it apparently costs airlines $10,000 to get one of those slides stuffed back in the plane.
Teacher has students send cards to inmate charged with possessing child porn.
When teachers encourage their students to send cards to lonely people, we say "aww." When we find out that those people are lonely because they're in prison and have been accused of possessing child pornography, the "aww" quickly turns to "Eew!" An elementary school teacher in Queens might lose her job after it was discovered that she'd encouraged her students to send holiday cards to her boyfriend, who's doing time at a high-security correctional facility. Just to make sure she fully crossed that inappropriate threshold, she also encouraged them to include their names and addresses on them, so the inmate could "reply." Eek, no.
Drinking while parenting.
Fans everywhere have been saddened by Whitney Houston's passing. While the world is disappointed about the loss of a great talent, we can only imagine what her daughter is going through right now. Whitney's public struggle with addiction has some thinking about the children of addicts all over the country. An estimated one in ten kids in America have a parent with an alcohol use disorder. This week is Children of Alcoholics Week. Some say that, as a culture, we've turned a blind eye to parents with addiction, and jokes about "mommy's little helpers" and flip comments about our kids driving us to drink are masking more serious problems.
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.