Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today's Hot Topics

I awoke this morning undecided about if I would post anything or not. As Amelia played in her exersaucer and I sipped my cup of coffee, I turned on Good Morning America where within the first ten minutes, I was given inspiration. Get ready for a rant.

The first story was how believes that, in extreme cases, morbidly obese children should be removed from their homes and placed in the foster care system. We aren't talking pudgy, overweight, or even simply obese. This is an issue of life threatening morbid obesity. As discussed in the article, one girl removed from her home was 90 pounds at the age of three. That's 15 pounds more than my golden retriever. In another example, a 555 pound teenager was removed from her parents and subsequently lost 200 lbs. while living with her maternal aunt.

The Lunch Tray provides a thorough discussion and opinion on this topic and so, I'm going to get right to what my initial gut feeling on this. In a perfect world, the foster care system would have the goal of keeping families together, and my experience with the agencies in Northwest Ohio is that it is indeed the goal. However, the foster care system is, and I'm putting this lightly, a VERY flawed system. Policies, caseworkers, and work loads vary from county to county and state to state. Some families are never investigated when they would be safer out of the home, some kids are removed when they'd be better off in the home. I don't have any solutions and can't imagine having to be part of that system. My feeling in this case, though, is that with a possible exception of perhaps a few extreme cases, these families need help within the home. There are other ways to help, like services by a nutritionist, counselor, and/or doctor.

The second story is a new trend where restaurants are forbidding children under six from dining at their establishments. I'm just going to come out and say it: If you aren't going to let me go to your restaurant with my child, I'm not going to give you my money when I'm without her either. EVER. Now or when she's 25, you've pretty much been crossed off my 'places to have dinner list' forever. I will admit that prior to having a child, I would get a little annoyed with crying or screaming children in restaurants. Luckily I work with kids though and can pretty much tune them out. Beyond that, remember this, childless couples-- YOU don't have to continue to listen to that child for the rest of the night. The parent does.

On the flip side, I do sympathize. Customers are not dining at these restaurants to hear upset children. I about feel like I'm going to die of embarrassment when Amelia screams in a restaurant. But you know what? I don't let her continue to do that. I try to soothe her at the table, and if that doesn't work, I walk away so people don't have to hear her. On one occasion, I left a restaurant b/c she wouldn't settle. In truth, in that situation 95% of people were giving me looks of sympathy. I feel like this is a case of a few bad apples ruin the whole barrel. Because some parents will take their kids out to eat when they are too tired to make good choices, or because they won't set and stick to limits for their kids, the rest of us have to look like we are incapable of managing our children's behavior and volume in public.

Beyond that, I have to say that Amelia is much less obnoxious and WAY cuter than most adults dining at the restaurants I go to. You want to know what age group typically grates on my nerves when I'm out? Teenagers. But I don't complain to management, and I don't sneer at their parents, should they happen to be with them. I do not see why the same courtesy shouldn't be extended to myself as the mother of an eight month old.

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