Thursday, August 03, 2006

and the trees went down..

When three hickory trees fall in the middle of a town, does anyone picket?

Apparently, they do - electronically, that is. Recently, I wrote this about a town's decision to allow a family to remove three hickory trees. The topic has now been rechewed by Slate.com's own Emily Bazelton, here. Emily is, as you can tell from the picture, distressed because her son's chosen snack was denied twice, for potential nut/peanut content. Once is an accident, twice is kinda careless, no?

Following her editor's instruction to be controversial, Emily has sparked the 'is my kid more important than you kid' debate, using her undernourished child as the vehicle, while handily tossing out the old 'overprotective parent' line, to undercut the credentials of the allergy mom or dad. Or the school board, who presumably made the rules that she finds so onerous. Oh, Em. How unoriginal of you.

Yes, your child is less important than mine. Is that what you wanted to hear? Yes, I am a mean mama, over protecting my kid and unnecessarily restricting his diet - and your kid's diet, all in one swell foop. Better now?

Oh, and by the bye, Emily, you forgot one crucial thing: allergies are not static. With each exposure, a child's allergy can ramp up, until even a hitherto mild allergy can become a life-threatening one. So what risk, exactly, would you be willing to take if you were in my shoes?

In my not so humble opinion, Emily has succeeded. She's provoking, all right. And yes, she raises a real problem. But more than that, she proves that among the virtues she's teaching her child, mindfulness and respect for the needs of others is not so much a focus. Read the damned labels, Emily. Teach your kid to be a mensch.

Trust me, that lesson has much more value than 'but I wanna eat that for snack!' As any allergy parent knows, sometimes food has less value than a human being.

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Dinner tonight: nothing! It's the ninth of Av, a fast day. The boys, however, feasted on leftovers.
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For the curious, yes, I did respond to Emily's article on slate.com's message board, aptly named The Fray. I'll give you a hint: I posted on August 3rd, at about 7 pm...and those of you who know the Eldest's other diagnosis will easily identify me.

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