Monthly Archives: May 2006

The Zoo and My Flexible Morals

Last weekend my wife and I set aside moral objections to keeping animals in cages and took our daughter to the zoo.

I was surprised how easy it was to make the decision. Perhaps because my wife and daughter had already visited the Vancouver Aquarium a few months ago, and, after doing a bit of research on that facility, I decided that the work they do is actually a bit more important and significant than just providing amusement for people. Besides, my daughter has this thing for Beluga whales and, barring an unexpected trip to Nunavut, probably won’t be able to see any in the wild for quite some time, long after she has outgrown her Beluga whale phase. So, when I planned the trip to the Vancouver Zoo last weekend, I naively envisioned an organization run with the same type of environmental integrity as the aquarium.

The visit was okay – there was only one animal that I thought might be a bit uncomfortable. A brown bear that seemed to me to be in a fairly small area, but the sign on the pen said it was a temporary facility and a new one was to be completed very soon.

All in all, though, I felt good about the trip and the zoo. The Girl had a good time and can’t stop talking about the nursing baby Wallaby she saw.

Which is why I feel doubly sick after reading in the paper this morning that the Vancouver Zoo – the zoo I so happily gave my money to 4 days ago – has become the first zoo in Canada to be charged with cruelty to animals.

Yep – not feeling so good about our family trip now.

Olsen Twins Pitch Show About Healthy Eating

Hahahahahaha….I almost fell for this one.

Olsen Twins Pitch Show About Healthy Eating.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are creating a show about health and nutrition for young children, according to media reports. Ashley and her twin sister Mary-Kate, who underwent rehab for anorexia in 2004, have met with TV executives about the new program aimed at four-to-five-year-olds called “Sportee Kids.”

Oh, wait…it’s true? Hmm, kinda like Tyra Banks hosting a show on how to be nice.

A Victory for DAD’s

I meant to blog about this last week when I first received the following notice from Dads and Daughters.

This fall, Hasbro plans to start marketing—to girls as young as six—a line of dolls based on The Pussycat Dolls, a six-woman music group that performs highly eroticized dance routines and songs, and helped launch a sexual cabaret show in Los Angeles.

Act now to urge Hasbro President and CEO Alfred J. Verrecchia to put his own granddaughter’s face in the picture and reverse the company’s decision to market these dolls. Join Dads & Daughters and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to preempt an irresponsible effort to create and promote unhealthy, hyper-sexualized toys for elementary school age girls.

However, before I had a chance to blog about this, Hasbro had already received enough mail to back down from their decision. A few minutes ago, DADS issued the following email followup.

After a grassroots letter-writing initiative from Dads & Daughters and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood , Hasbro, Inc. announced today that it will halt plans to market—to girls as young as six—a line of dolls based on The Pussycat Dolls, a six-woman music group that performs highly eroticized dance routines and songs.

The company issued the following statement:

“Hasbro and Interscope have jointly agreed that Hasbro will not move forward with the line of dolls based on the recording group, The Pussycat Dolls. Interscope’s current creative direction and images for the recording group are focused on a much older target than we had anticipated at the time of our original discussions, thereby making a doll line inappropriate for Hasbro.” (Note: Interscope is the record label that created and manages the Pussycat Dolls group.)

DADs President Joe Kelly called Hasbro’s decision a victory for families and responsible corporate practice. “We asked Hasbro executives to imagine encouraging their own six-year-old daughters and granddaughters to engage in developmentally unhealthy behavior. It appears they did that, and then made the right decision for their families, our families, and the company.”

DADs encourages people who care about children to mail or fax letters of thanks to Hasbro President and CEO Alfred J. Verrecchia at 1027 Newport Avenue, Pawtucket, RI, 02862-1059 or fax 401-727-5544.

I’m a big fan of the work of Dads and Daughters, a non-profit in the US that is dedicated to helping Dads of girls actively engage in their daughter’s lives, and fight against cultural messages that devalue girls and women. if you are a DAD, I encourage you to check them out.

Nice work, DADS!

A Cute Story

This morning The Girl was lying in bed with Mom, doing the half awake, half sleeping cuddle. Her head was resting on Mom’s 3 month baby belly when Mom’s belly grumbled. The Girl shot up out of bed, big grin and wide eyed. She looked at me lying beside her and said, “The new baby tooted!”

A Bad Dad

Man, I hope we haven’t done any damage with this parental screw-up, but only time will tell.

First, a bit of background.

  1. It’s official. Baby #2 is on the way (YAY!)
  2. #1 has always wanted a baby sister/brother. She loves babies and is always mothering her teddies & dolls. I suspect all toddlers go thru a “mothering” phase with their teddies, but The Girl really seems to take extra joy in making sure her “babies” are well taken care of. For this reason, we have always thought that when baby #2 comes, there is a good chance she will be a fantastic older sister.
  3. The Girl rarely used a soother when she was younger, and hasn’t touched one for close to a year. 2 weeks ago, a suckie was found and, despite our best efforts, it hasn’t left The Girl’s mouth since.
  4. Mom still sometimes sleeps with The Girl at night.

So, 2 days ago the suckie went missing. The Girl has been a bit upset by the disappearance. Mom and I have been trying to explain that suckies are for babies and now that she is a big girl she really doesn’t need one. In fact, maybe we should save the suckies for the new baby. Mistake #1.

Also in the past couple of days, we’ve been trying to prepare The Girl for the fact that, when the new baby comes, Mommy may not be able to sleep with her in her bed because the new baby might need Mommy at night. Mistake #2.

So, we thought she had been taking all this news rather well. Until last night when we heard he utter, “Don’t want new baby. New baby go away. I have enough babies.”

My heart broke. I felt horrible. What have we done? The Girl had been so excited about having a new baby and in the course of a couple of days we have managed to suck all the excitement of having a new baby right out of her.

In retrospect, our mistakes were obvious, including the references to her becoming a “Big Girl”. I think that is going to stop. I only hope that we can get her back on track to being excited about having a baby brother or sister again.

I’m feeling like a terrible parent right now.

Housework? Dad Can Do It!

News Flash!

Men CAN do housework AND take care of kids AND run a household just as well as women.

The findings are based on the results of a recent BBC reality TV show in Britain where all the wives and girlfriends in the village of Harby were sent away on a holiday. While they were frolicking in the sun, their partners were filmed getting to grips with child care, domestic chores and community projects. And surprise surprise – the men didn’t fall on their faces.

The piece is fun, but I do have to take exception with Jemima Lewis when she says

As bachelors, they often live quite contentedly in a sea of discarded underpants, beer cans and mouldy crockery. Nothing terrible happens as a consequence: they still manage to hold down jobs, make friends – even pull off the occasional seduction.

I know it is in fun and jest, but the underlying truth perpetuates the myth that all men are slobs, which is far from the truth. Anecdotally, I have known many women who are slobs and many guys who are fastidiously clean. I’d imagine that, like many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but yet conventional wisdom holds that men are slobs and incapable of doing more than lying on the couch drinking beer and watching hockey and soccer…oh, wait a sec

In the meantime, good on ya Dads of Harby village, Nottinghamshire for showing a skeptical world once again that Dad can do it.