crib recall

Thanks to for pointing out that the Simplicity crib recall this week comes TWO YEARS after the CPSC first determined that the cribs were dangerous, and received word of children suffocating after becoming trapped in the crib’s side-drop mechanism. It took the CPSC two years to let us know that the crib was a death trap? I try to be a calm mother, but I have to start wondering… what else in my house is dangerous, or lethal, and I won’t know for another two years?

beware the deadly Croc-odile

OK so have we all heard about the latest danger to our children? Crocs Pose Danger on Escalators, according to a recent ABC News story. There have been several incidents where kids’ feet got caught in the escalator teeth, and the escalator mangled the Croc like an incriminating document in a paper shredder. Our children’s feet are NOT SAFE.

I have a couple of thoughts on this:
–really, kids on escalators aren’t safe, period. We have had various close calls in assorted footwear. I always hold my breath until we’re all off safely.
–are Crocs really any more dangerous than a rubbery flip flop?
–if all soft, open shoes are dangerous, do we need to start outfitting our toddlers in Doc Martens at all times? Is anything less than a metal-reinforced toe just an amputation waiting to happen?

In other words, Scary Media People, it’s all a big Croc. I don’t care. I’m drawing the line. I’m not getting rid of my kids’ Crocs. My boys love them, and I worship them. They’re cheap; they’re waterproof; my barely three-year-old can put them on by himself, which saved my pregnant self from bending over hundreds of times this summer; and Jibbitz,the little plastic pieces of crapola that you stick in the holes, are a sugar-free and cheap reward, bribe, you name it.

I NEED these Crocs. I guess once it hits October 1st I should really put them away, so people won’t think my children are neglected, but I am pulling them back out by St. Patrick’s Day at the latest, and I’ll get back at least ten minutes of sock-finding and double-knotting shoelaces per day.

Don’t take my Crocs away, cruel Media World. Let a mother have her small comforts. You can take the microwave popcorn, the Thomas the Tank Engines, the food coloring, but leave me their tiny, clog-like, filthy plastic shoes. We’ll take the stairs. I promise.

forget what I said ten weeks ago

Now that the birth of our third child is imminent–I am due in three weeks, and my OB tells me I could go sooner– one would expect me to be excited, or at least relieved. But I am completely panicked. NOT ready. I am clutching at my current life with my fingernails and digging in, praying for every one of the twenty-one days I have left.

I am more than ready to be done being pregnant; however, it has suddenly occurred to me that childbirth is much more of a beginning than it is an end, since I will eventually weigh less than my husband again (please God), but that will be with another BABY on my hip.

I don’t know why, but I have had to have this realization over again with each of my three pregnancies. While pregnant, I often feel strangely disconnected from the end result. I know a baby is coming, and that’s why my pants don’t fit me; but I feel like I just have to endure this big belly marathon for 40 weeks, and then the stork will come. I tend to lose sight of two rather important facts: one, the reason my belly is big, and that it feels like there’s something moving around in there, is because there IS someone moving around in there. Two, that someone is going to have to come out.

“I’m nervous about the birth,” I told my husband the other night. “Why?” he said, meaning to be reassuring. “You know exactly what to expect now.”

From where I lay beached on the sofa, I turned slowly, and gave him the evil eye. “Precisely,” I said. “Now I know EXACTLY what to expect.”

And yet I feel entirely unprepared. I wondered, briefly, if I should dig out all the birth books I read the first time around, and brush up a bit, or at least Tivo a few episodes of A Baby Story, just to feel like I’m doing something to get ready. But if you learn anything by the third time around, it’s that “being prepared” is a complete fallacy. There’s no such thing. There’s no way to be ready for the upheaval in your life that a new baby brings.

And so perhaps that is why all of the infant clothes are still boxed up in the basement, I don’t have a hospital bag packed, I have no idea where our infant car seat even is,and I haven’t done a Kegel in months. The baby might come any day now, but until the contractions start, I’m telling myself that the stork will have it all handled.

update on the leady toys thing

So this morning, I get this email in my inbox, from the CEO of Toys R Us himself, Gerald L. Storch. “Nothing is more important to our company than the safety of children,” he tells us parents. “It is at the heart of who we are as a company.” And he promises us they are really, really going to do better from now on:

Please know that we will continue to work tirelessly to guarantee we are doing everything we can to provide only the safest shopping environment for all families.

Well, OK, I thought. I am still angry that they can find my email address when they want to send me these platitudes, but not when they have actual information about unsafe toys to disseminate. But really, they’re going to do better now. They swear to God. Last week, the Toy Industry Association actually asked the federal government to do a better job of enforcing safety standards upon them. Like unruly teenagers, the toy companies are saying: show us boundaries, Mom and Dad, because clearly we cannot be trusted.

This is all meant to reassure parents, who presumably buy the vast majority of toys. And it did make me feel better, until I read E. Marla Felcher’s article in Slate, What it would really take to make toys safer (credit also to, where I found out about this article). There’s a big problem with this “sudden hankering for regulation,” according to Felcher:

The reason so many toys were recalled this summer is not that there weren’t enough regulations. It’s that toy makers were ignoring the regulations that are already on the books.

What we can hope will improve, apparently, is the rate of removing dangerous toys from the shelves. Right now
Toys R Us isn’t doing so well there:

Curious George spinning tops, recalled last month for their high levels of lead, were on the market for six years before anyone noticed the problem.

And that’s not including toys with design flaws (read: choking hazards), which aren’t even on the list of things the Toy Industry Association wants the government to test.

Felcher suggests that the toy industry’s sudden penitence is mostly for show, because Christmas is only a few months away and they’re afraid none of us are going to buy anything from them. They should be worried. After reading this article, this Santa might be stuffing stockings with crayons and books this year.

guess who’s expecting this fall?

“Guess who’s expecting this fall?”

Um, not this lady?

This is an ad for the “Smarter Toddler” chain of day care/ nursery schools in New York City. The name “Smarter Toddler” has always kind of rubbed me the wrong way; it smacks of the New York City style of hyper-parenting to which I have valiantly attempted not to succumb (often to little avail). What are they trying to say? Their toddlers are smarter than whose, exactly? Anyone’s? Or just mine?

But if the name of their school misfires, then this ad utterly, utterly fails in its attempt to reach its target audience, who I can only assume is me. Where did they get this model? Seriously, how old is she? 18? And she’s what, two days pregnant? It’s a little hard to tell, since the background color is only a half-shade darker than her stomach, but my Lord, most of us look hope to have a belly that flat when we’re NOT pregnant. Still, poor thing, why couldn’t they give her a bikini top that fit? She’s got cleavage at the bottom.

Everything about this picture– from the highlighted and tousled high-maintenance hair, to the air-brushed, vein-free stomach, to the Brazilian wax that was clearly required– seems designed to make me, an actual pregnant mother in the real world, feel awful about myself. But maybe that’s their point: Our toddlers are smarter than yours, and our moms are way, way hotter than you will ever be. We don’t even want your money. Eat your heart out.