CDC Instructs Parents To Set Diseased Grocery Carts On Fire

kidscartDec. 1st, 2016

Atlanta, Georgia–The news has swept the internet today after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported children’s grocery carts are cesspools containing deadly disease. “We’ve found disease in the carts ranging from E. coli to Ebola. I recommend you avoid placing your children in them at all times,” says CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. The report comes as a shock to parents with small children who are constantly sick with colds, conjunctivitis, and fevers.

As a result of the report, major grocery stores chains across the country are removing carts containing the plastic extensions. When asked how to respond if a children’s cart is found at a grocery store, Dr. Frieden instructed, “Set them on fire. Douse them with gasoline and strike a match. But do it safely in the parking lot. This is the only way to destroy the diseases and prevent them from spreading.”

Below are a list of life threatening diseases found in children’s carts from all 50 states:

SARS
Leprosy
Influenza
Measles
Bird Flu
Meningitis
Rabies

Frieden encouraged parents who have allowed their child in a cart recently to seek medical treatment. “If you love your child and want them to live to a mature age, I advise you to allow a medical professional to take blood samples,” said Frieden. “And for parents concerned about future trips to the grocery store with small children, I encourage you to consider Amazon Fresh.”

The report has left many parents in tears feeling overwhelming guilt for placing their children in danger. “I’m terrified,” said Suzy Weaver, a mother from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who allows her child in the carts on a weekly basis. “I pretended to not notice him gnawing on the plastic steering wheel and eating pineapple samples off the seat.” Another parent, Tom Wilson, a father from Salem, Oregon, noted, “I was concerned when I found feces in a cart, but I thought the exposure would help build up my daughter’s immune system.”

After the release of the report, many parents are calling for elected officials to create legislation banning children’s carts. Frieden didn’t think this was the solution, instead saying “we have to move forward and parents need to be vigilant. Again, the best thing to do is carry a gallon of gasoline in your minivans and torch any kids’ carts you might encounter.”

Later today, probably in the middle of the night, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to respond to this crisis with a tweet.

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5 Reasons You Should Be Thankful For Your Toddler

henryfloorI don’t remember the last time I slept past 6:30 a.m. I don’t remember the last time I went to a movie theater. I don’t remember the last time I ate a meal at my own pace. I don’t remember the last time I went an entire day without changing a poop diaper. I don’t remember the last time my toddler ate what I prepared him for dinner. Yet, I cannot think of anyone I want to spend more time with this Thanksgiving.

Just when I think I might toss him out the window he snuggles against me on the couch to watch an episode of Puffin Rock. He gently leans his head on me. The same head he used to ram me an hour ago. He pats me with the same palm he slammed into my nose this morning. How such a destructive creature could exist in such a cute body is a mystery I cannot explain. All I know is I am grateful for him.

I’m gonna take a moment to list why I appreciate this monster-truck-loving, peanut-butter-face-wearing, belly-button-jabbing child. I don’t know what I would do without him. And I wouldn’t trade him for anything. Well, I might consider a massage recliner, the kind they have on display at Costco is the closest to heaven I’ve been.

Anyway, here are five reasons I am thankful for my toddler:

5. Toddlers have a remarkable capacity to let go of things and move on. For instance, the other day I accidentally smacked him on the chin when the car seat belt slipped causing my hand to bonk him. I felt like crap. He cried, lip quivering, maximizing my guilt. I apologized. And two minutes later he wanted to talk to me about the foxes in his book as if nothing happened. Tiny people are refreshing because they tend to not hold grudges, harbor resentment, and wield bitterness.

4. The kid makes me laugh every day. Whether its giggling at his own farts or stuffing his face with linguini or his uncanny ability to locate dog poop. He makes me chuckle during the chaos. The other day I set him down to walk through the doorway of his parents day out classroom. He demanded I put his backpack on. I told him it was too heavy. He insisted. I put the straps on his shoulders and let go. He took one and a half steps forward and the backpack pulled him backwards to the floor. He dropped like a load of bricks. The teacher smiled. I laughed out loud and felt like the parent of the year.

3. My toddler reminds me why language is such an amazing thing. Reading children’s books with him has renewed my appreciation for the sound of language. For myself, listening to him repeat sounds and combine syllables into words is the most interesting part of early development. When I’m away from him I still find myself listening to the sounds of words. And don’t tell anybody this part:  I’ve started reading poetry because I love the sounds of children’s books so much.

2. He is teaching me patience. Oh boy, is he teaching me patience. I thought I was a patient person before his birth, but now I see how much room I had to grow. Leaving the house, getting in the carseat, shopping at the grocery store, attending church, and traveling to see family feels like mobilizing an army. And I just have one child. Much respect for families with multiple kids. I don’t know how you do it.

1.  Most importantly, he gives me perspective when I need it most. He causes me to remember what makes life rich and worth living. Relationships. People. Connection. Just when I think I need other things to make me happy, he reminds me the essentials are usually simple and free and natural. Sharing a meal. Bedtime hugs. Reading a book together on the floor. He seems to never forget these things because he isn’t weighed down by any other expectations. I’m grateful to be his father. He is teaching me important lessons.

READ MORE:  Loving Your Spouse When They Get On Your Last Nerve

Helicopter Parents, Tiger Moms, and Free Range Dads, Oh My!

img_2410Last weekend, my wife and I took my son to the playground. As we arrived, an older girl was climbing a curved, metal ladder that extended to a platform about five feet high. After studying her, I could tell my son was eager to climb. He shuffled his hands on the metal rails and lifted his feet to the first rung. His two-year-old motor skills were developed just enough to maintain balance. I kept my distance, a few feet away.

As he climbed, he was looking around at kids darting across a bridge. His legs wobbled. Keep your distance, Billy, keep your distance. After regaining focus, he climbed three-quarters of the way up the ladder but a boy screamed on the slide causing him to turn his head and he completely missed a rung, his leg dangled in the air, torso pressed against the ladder. Keep your distance, Billy, keep your distance. He regrouped and kept climbing and reached the top and stepped on the platform. He stood with raised hands and a mile-wide smile. “I do it all by myself,” he said, before running to the slide. I released a deep breath.

I’m learning to navigate the tension of parenting, knowing when to intervene and when to make room for my child to take risks. It’s tough. I didn’t want my toddler son to smash his head into the ground. But if I intervened I would have removed the risk that allowed him to accomplish a steep climb. I would have robbed him of newfound self-confidence. It was awesome to watch him smile on top of the platform and I wish I could say I am the trusting parent who always errs on the side of stepping away and managing my own anxiety. But that would be a big fat lie.

I am an anxious daddy. And here is what I hate to admit:  I am at risk of becoming a helicopter parent. Maybe I already am one. Ugh. I don’t want to swarm my child with anxiety, undermining his ability to make decisions and care for himself. I don’t want to be THAT parent. Nor do I want to be a tiger mom (always pushing my child.) And I don’t think I will ever be a free-range daddy, even though I like the ideas associated with this parenting style. So, where do I stand?

I’ve not spent significant time discerning whether or not I am a helicopter parent or tiger mom or free-range dad. I wasn’t interested in the debate until I read last Sunday about Mike Lanza’s Playborhood in The New York Times Magazine. His radical parenting philosophy, the polar opposite of a helicopter parent, jarred me. It left me with much to ponder. The gist of the article is that Lanza created a Playborhood (a creative and inviting playground) in the backyard of his suburban, San Francisco neighborhood. It is a space for his children and neighborhood kids to engage in unsupervised, free play and take risks which he considers a key ingredient to growth.

After reading it, his parenting ideas caused my head to spin. Lanza is talking about more than benign wrestling matches in the backyard; he allows his kids access to the attic of their home, which contains a door to the roof (a two story home) where they can hang out. Also, they climb to the roof of a backyard playhouse and jump off onto a large trampoline.

His ideas are extreme and make me uncomfortable. Yet, I have to admit they are compelling and I believe he has put his finger on a real problem, the toxic anxiety of modern parenting. His free play philosophy is so striking because it runs counter to conventional parenting norms.

To be clear, I really don’t think we can label parents and shove them into rigid boxes on different ends of the spectrum. But for the sake of thoughtfulness, I think it is helpful to use the categories to help you think through your parenting style.

I resist these labels because I don’t think rigid parenting philosophies are what children need. Parenting is a relationship. It involves two unique human beings. Two complicated people. And to make a parent-child relationship work flexibility is needed and one must always be adjusting to the needs of the other. I would never seek out a marriage philosophy or a philosophy to relate to my parents or grandparents or other family members. So, it seems a bit silly to think we can formulate parenting philosophies as if parenting is a one way relationship that is not changing every day. It seems subscribing to a parneting philosophy takes your eyes off the kid in front of you and their particular needs and places it on your self and the needs of your ego.

I want to be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and wave my own flag. I want to be the fluid parent that looks at my child and their stage in development and draws the resources I need based on where they are at. I am not interested in rigid philosophies and adhereing to them at all costs. I need more flexibility. I’m not a tiger mom or a free range dad or a helicopter parent. I am me.

There are parts I admire about both ends of the spectrum. I want to blend the attentiveness of the helipcopter parent with the trust of the free range parent. I want to be present to address my kid’s needs but I also want to respect his boundaries and make sure he has room to take risks and do what he needs to learn and grow.

One of the parents I admire most in our social circle is one that I consider resourceful. She doesn’t strike me as an anxious, hovering parent nor does she strike me as the parent who embraces any extremes of free play. She seems to stand somewhere in the middle. I would argue what makes her so skillful is her knack to find the resources her child needs to deal with whatever problem is present. She knows how to be aware of what is going on in her kid’s life and then turn and find the help needed.

She is a self-aware parent, which I think is a critical skill for parents to hone and develop more so than developing a specific parenting philosophy. Its often our own crap, our own unresolved issues, that impact our kids the most. Sure, there are plenty of real dangers in the world but are we aware of the issues we force our kids to deal with under our roof everyday. These are the things more likely to derail them–addiction, abuse, neglect, uncontrolled anger. The things we must turn away from the world to see and look inward.

I know this idea does not sound as interesting or exciting as a tiger mom or free range dad. Maybe it sounds kinda boring. Maybe a bit obvious or old fashioned. I think people like Mike Lanza are in the headlines because their extreme views invite discussion and prove interesting. That is fine and I think he offers exciting ideas. But I don’t think our kids need newspapers headlines or extreme ideas. They need stable, reliable, and resourceful parents who can problem solve when physical and emotional issues arise. And also know when to leave kids alone.

 

An Open Letter To Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

pscheerI swore to myself I would not be manipulated by you. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m loyal. A man committed to regular Cheerios. Sure, sometimes I try apple cinnamon and honey nut, but I always come back to my steady. My plain pulverized oats.

I rolled my cart past you, but the next week I saw you again and gazed at your burnt orange box. On your cover, the miniature pumpkin and bundled cinnamon sticks, artfully arranged next to a wooden spoon, caused my hands to tingle. I resisted but knew it was only a matter of time. I would give myself to your seasonal spices.

At home, I stalked you on-line. I read your reviews. I studied your ingredients: 6 parts ground cinnamon, 1 part nutmeg, 1 part ginger, 1/2 part allspice, and 1/2 part ground cloves.

For a few days, I forgot about you until I returned to the store. In a moment of weakness, on a sleep deprived day with my toddler son in the cart, I drifted towards your end cap. I stared at your wall of burnt orange. I noticed your sale price and, finally, I grabbed you off the shelf and held you eye-level. I flipped you to your backside and found more cinnamon sticks and pumpkins. I could no longer resist you. I gave in to my desires.

At home, I hid you in the pantry between the Go Lean Crunch and Raisin Bran because I felt guilt. The moment I treasured most with you was during my son’s naptime when I poured a bowl of you and watched you turn my milk a shade of brown. Your pumpkin puree overwhelmed my taste buds. And left me with a belly full of regret. I knew I had betrayed my plain Cheerios.

At dinner, I told my wife what I had done. I asked her to keep an open mind. I told her I was experimenting. She shook her head and silently judged me. I felt like a seasonal sucker and owned by you and fallen to an onslaught of fall marketing madness. I told myself I would not taste you again.

So, I threw you in the trash because the emotional toll became too much. But a few hours later, after my wife went to bed, I retrieved you. I did this because things are so exciting when you are around. Yet, I know I can’t keep doing this. I feel torn. It’s too much. You have to go.

Goodbye,

Billy