Friday, November 25, 2011

Moving Right Along

I'm blogging about children's literature and its tentacles and interlocutors (commercial-free childhood being one of them) over at Kid Lit Vulture and tweeting as both @inthebigmuddy and @kidlitvulture. See you there!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Arbitrary Thoughts Leading up to Screen-Free aka Digital Detox Week (begins April 18, 2011).

"Sweden and Norway forbid all advertising directed at children younger than 12 years, Greece bans toy advertising until after 10 PM, and Denmark and Belgium severely restrict advertising aimed at children."*

Recently we heard Diane Levin speak. She's one of the founders of the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood. The venue? A Montessori school gymnasium. Diane isn't a better-living impresario. Nor is she a Powerpoint Cowgirl. She strikes me as—well—sensible.

Diane makes sense when it comes to the web of relationships between big business, children's learning, and media. She showed us two slides showing the packaging of Mongolian Huggies diapers. On the boy's diaper package, a Mongolian boy toddler wielded a machine gun. On the girl's package a Mongolian girl wore a toddler-sized blonde wig.

As I'm writing, my youngest daughter is chanting "Arthur, Arthur, Arthur!" (the Marc Brown character) and "Bugs Bunny, Bugs Bunny, Bugs Bunny!" as if these are the teams that will win and deliver her into the collective delirium of football fans everywhere at the moment of a winning score.

There is nothing social, however, in her pursuit of this entertainment, nor her subsequent joy. "Dad, is there any scary Arthurs?" she asks, once her wish has preliminary approval. A few clicks of the trackpad, and—presto—we have conjured the precise, prepackaged, prepubescent, parent-approved Public Broadcasting Service character. She'll watch it alone. Big sister and the two of us return to our individual tasks.

It doesn't mean much to say we are a TV-free family. We have laptops, iPods, YouTube,, and DVDs. These modalities—pardon my French—are hardly less conducive to mental caries than an actual television signal entering our home. I'm going to have a hard time, in this TV-free household, enforcing digital detox week. How about you?

*From an American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, reaffirmed Feb. 2010.


1. Decide to clean out freezer because children fishing for ice cream and yogurt tubes may be injured by tumbling containers.
2. Alert to plastic bag of frozen, granulated, homemade cookie crumbs (Why? I am Cuisinart, therefore I cuise).
3. Because, in twenty minutes a four-year-old must be fetched from school, do not, under any circumstances, measure. Reuse bowls and spatulas from egg white-whipping pursuant to quiche, without washing. Beat one cup of egg whites into soft, undulating, ethereal peaks.
4. Because aforesaid crumbs (see #2, above) are unidentifiable, add half a fist of brown sugar, a wink of baking powder, and a jigger of flour.
5. Because aforesaid crumbs (again, see #2, above) are largely unidentifiable, add a dash of cocoa powder, four squares of chocolate meant for eating out of hand. Smear chocolate on palms carelessly in the process of breaking them.
6. Because they have been in the refrigerator longer than initially planned, pistachios should now be added, but not so many as to frighten the intended audience. Note to self: pistachios, due to their pigmentation and health benefits as a member of the Nut Family, belong to the vegetable echelon (read: basement) of the food pyramid.
7. Fold with presence of mind (Cf. #3) until mixture is amalgamated.
8. Bake at 325 degrees in a 7" glass pyrex tart plate only after aforesaid four-year-old has been successfully retrieved and deposited safely in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Won't Wear It Mama

I've been pondering whether it's possible to have a fabric addiction. One of my recent binges has been hanging in my four year old's closet for a week or so. She won't even try it on. The whole thing is a blur (read: addiction symptom) but I know for sure I didn't use a pattern. I started with the idea of turning two legs of a block printed salwar from an outgrown salwar kameez (women's Punjabi suit) into puffy sleeves that could have come right out of "Oklahoma!". I threw together a torso that involved red polka dots. I pleated some of the trim. I made a bow tie at the sternum. I now have something that is a piece of art...for the wall. Body art for the wall, wall art for the body? To come full circle I'll have to look into making a wallpaper dress. Maybe she'll wear that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

All Around the Kitchen

Pete Seeger's much-censored antiwar classic "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" isn't my (musically) favorite Seeger song. But here we are in the aftermath of Scott Brown's election to the Senate and the Supreme Court's affirmation of corporate personhood.

Cock a Doodle Doo.
Off to cook a pudding for the eight-year-old.

originally posted on Bloglines 1/22/10.