1 More Dollar a Day for Healthy School Lunches, Healthy Kids

It’s very trendy right now to pay lip service to the idea that America’s kids should eat healthier.  Michelle Obama has just kicked off a big campaign to fight childhood obesity, but will this mean real change for the nation’s kids or just a tiny green garnish on the big plate of corn dog nuggets served up every day in schools across the United States?

Teachers are tired of watching their students bounce off the walls after a meal of red food dye, corn syrup and breaded commodity chicken.  One such teacher – “Mrs. Q” – has taken her frustration to the blogosphere, where she is showing the world what her kids are forced to eat every day, by ordering her own school lunch and photographing the evidence.  At her school, absolutely everything aside from the rare fresh apple comes pre-packaged and re-heated in a plastic film.  


Kids in my community are actually luckier than many in that they at least have the option to choose one or two fresh fruit/vegetable items a day, alongside the ubiquitous canned stuff.  Although everything seems to be re-heated from off-site sources, they do at least get real trays, a spoon and a fork, and the choice of a salad instead of that day’s entree.

Still, we don’t do well enough by our kids by a long shot.  Although our lunch menus include lots of handy nutrition advice on the backside, the actual menu includes weeks of food like the following:  

(March 1st-5th)
 Monday: Crispy Chicken Nuggets
 Tuesday:  Hamburger on Whole Wheat Bun
 Wednesday: Soft Tacos (with yummy mechanically separated beef)
 Thursday: Beefy Gravy (No one eats this, it all lands in the trash.)
 Friday:  Pizza

Breakfast options feature items like pizza pockets and pancake and sausage on a stick.

How can schools lecture kids (and parents) about healthy food choices and then serve corn dogs one day followed by pepperoni & cheese bites the next?  How can any school lunch program offer parents helpful advice on time-saving recipes, whilst feeding kids “uncrustable” pre-packaged PB&J sandwiches?

My district’s choices don’t exist in a vacuum.  Our school lunch program is a national disgrace, but one we can’t afford not to remedy.  

In some industrialized nations, school children are served healthy, filling meals any mom would be proud to feed her child.  Can we really say we are a superpower if the best we can offer our school children is cow parts swept off the slaughter house floor?

Fortunately, the Obama administration has ended the practice of serving up meat from cows so sick they can no longer stand.  But despite the First Lady’s high profile anti childhood obesity campaign, the President’s budget has alloted only 20 cents more per child per day for the school lunch program.  That’s only one fifth of what advocates are requesting as a baseline to start working toward meaningful school lunch reform.  

If you think mechanically separated, ammonia-treated meat coated with whole grain powder, deep fried and served alongside a “fruit” icee does not constitute proper fuel for the next generation of American citizens, write your congresspeople, take your own school lunch photos, and stop by and thank Mrs. Q for having the ovaries to put her job at risk by bring this issue to light.

In the meantime, this mama is going to try to turn over a new leaf and prepare more meals from home.

bento1

Uncrustables photo by Lisa Dean Photography

(Cross-posted to Daily Kos)

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Kids on Facebook

Today, I had a notification in my inbox that my neighbor added me as a friend on Facebook.  Normally, I wouldn’t give it a second thought… but this neighbor is one of my son’s friends.  And, he just happens to be 8 years old.  My 9 year old son Grant, has asked me for a Facebook account and I said no.  I figured, it’s for high school aged kids and up.  Or, maybe junior high.  Then it got me thinking… how young is too young for Facebook?  


I did some poking around on the internets and came across this article:

Parents who try to ban their children from Facebook and MySpace are wasting their time, a national expert said Thursday in Rock Hill.

Kids will get involved in social networking sites regardless of what their parents tell them, said Detective Corey MacDonald. Parents should talk to their children about online habits and keep each other aware of the dangers.

“Lamenting it as the great big danger is not going to accomplish anything,” MacDonald said. “And you lose your credibility with the kids. It’s better to focus on, ‘OK, how are we going to manage it?’”

Really?  I think that may hold true for older kids, but I’d be mad as hell if my 9 year old created a Facebook or MySpace account without my knowledge.  

To me, it seems that Facebook is a forum for older kids and adults.  Some of the content is definitely adult in nature.  Even the silly quizzes have questions and answers on them I’d rather my kid didn’t see.  Some of the ads are pretty risque too.  

And, we all know the dangers of online predators.  It would be pretty easy for one of them to send a message to my child… even if they weren’t friends with him.  I know Facebook’s supposed to be pretty secure, but…

Kari Henly had this to say back in March on Huffington Post about kids being developmentally ready for Facebook…

I set about interviewing scores of parents with children from elementary to high school, asking their opinions about Facebook and kids. While most felt it was a relatively safe place for kids to connect to each other, many expressed concern over the obsessive nature of these sites. Designed to be “sticky;” a site is deemed successful the longer it entices you to stay on, yet these hours are replacing other activities critical for healthy development.

A child’s brain reaches its full size at age six and the gray matter is actually the thickest around age 12. Remember how the world was full of possibilities at that age? Because it truly is. After this stage, the brain begins to prune back gray matter and the phrase “use it or lose it” becomes key as certain brain cells die forever. The skills your child learns during adolescence; like sports, dancing, music or academics become hard wired. Other skills that are not being used will fall away.

I’m a pretty laid back mom, but I think this just opens a door into a world where an 8 or 9 year old just isn’t ready to step into.  Or, maybe I’m just being overly cautious.  

What age do you think is appropriate for joining social networking sites like Facebook?  Do your younger kids have Facebook pages?  Are any of your kids on Facebook for Kids?.   According to their site:

FBFKids is a non profit, safe, secure, Monitored & Moderated childrens social networking site.  For the protection of our children.

Hmmm… maybe that’ll be my comprimise.  Thoughts, MotherTalkers?

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The Politics Surrounding a Facebook Photo

This Slate Double X column left me scratching my head. According to writer Katie Rolphe, women who post pictures of their children rather than themselves as their main Facebook image are emblematic of a generation of women who have completely given up their identities for their children. Think the women featured in Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique.

Oy vey.

Many of these women work. Many of them are in book clubs. Many of them are involved in causes. But this is how they choose to represent themselves. The choice may seem trivial, but the whole idea behind Facebook is to create a social persona, an image of who you are projected into hundreds of bedrooms and cafes and offices across the country. Why would that image be of someone else, however closely bound they are to your life, genetically and otherwise? The choice seems to constitute a retreat to an older form of identity, to a time when women were called Mrs. John Smith, to a time when fresh scrubbed Vassar girls were losing their minds amidst vacuum cleaners and sandboxes. Which is not to say that I don’t understand the temptation to put a photograph of your beautiful child on Facebook, because I do. After all, it frees you of the burden of looking halfway decent for a picture, and of the whole excruciating business of being yourself. Your three-year-old likes being in front of the camera. But still.

These Facebook photos signal a larger and more ominous self-effacement, a narrowing of our worlds. Think of a dinner party you just attended, and your friend, who wrote her senior thesis in college on Proust, who used to stay out drinking till five in the morning in her twenties, a brilliant and accomplished woman. Think about how throughout the entire dinner party, from olives to chocolate mousse, she talks about nothing but her kids. You waited, and because you love this woman, you want her to talk about…what?…a book? A movie? A news story? True, her talk about her children is very detailed, very impressive in the rigor and analytical depth she brings to the subject; she could, you couldn’t help but think, be writing an entire dissertation on the precise effect of a certain teacher’s pedagogical style on her four-year-old. But still. You notice at another, livelier corner of the table that the men are not talking about models of strollers. This could in fact be a 19th-century novel where the men have retired to a different room to drink brandy and talk about news and politics. You turn back to the conversation and the woman is talking about what she packs for lunch for her child. Are we all sometimes that woman? A little kid talk is fine, of course, but wasn’t there a time when we were interested, also, in something else?

I thought this was straight-out paranoid and not something I would have ever garnered from a Facebook picture:

What if Facebook pages are only the beginning? What if next are passports and drivers’ licenses? What if suddenly the faces of a generation were to disappear, and in their places beaming toddlers? Who will mourn these vanished ladies and when will Betty Friedan rest in peace?

That said, I often wonder why people don’t include themselves at all on their Facebook home pages. How are old classmates and friends supposed to recognize them?

Still, I was one of those women who changed her solo shot for a family one. I just wanted to share my joy — nothing else. Really.

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The Breast Kept Secret – Part 2

. . . January 5 seemed so far away. But that was as early as they could see me again. I asked to speak to a doctor; perhaps an explanation over the phone would allay my fears. But it didn’t. I promised myself, reformed hypochondriac that I am, that during the second mammogram I wouldn’t care how hard the machine clamped down on my breast, I would yield to the pain. I needed that machine to do its job and not see what it had seen before.


Shortly after I made my second appointment, I realized that sharing even the possibility of my having breast cancer with friends was not a burden I wanted to spread around. Notice that I say nothing of family. Unfortunately, for me, my family is synonymous with warped, mean-spirited, self-loathing, xenophobic, small-minded and physically and sexually abusive people. Not your A-list in times of trouble. For many years I believed my biggest offense to them was that I was born in Boston. Many years ago, an aunt by marriage gave me a sweater for Christmas. It was a light gray acrylic. Woven into it was a pattern of three rows of four, mostly, white sheep. Except for the last sheep, number 12. That sheep was black. Even then the 13-year old got it. The message wasn’t lost. I have that sweater to this day. I do have two minor children, though, that I love dearly. I opted not to tell them either. My daughter is so emotionally fragile and volatile I worried that she might not finish her senior year if I shared my information with her.  My son, with his tender heart, would have been crushed. I told the children’s father, my ex-spouse, for obvious reasons. During that conversation, I heard genuine concern in his voice and it pleased me. I have long since forgiven his mistakes as a husband and I hope he has forgiven mine. He is diligently working on the dad thing. If anything were to happen to me, I knew the kids would be alright with him 24/7.

So, I soldiered on. Going through each day, stoic. The stress and fear building, but always internalized. I was just going through the motions. And when I was laid off, I had even more time to dwell on what was at stake on January 5. But behind the fear something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. There was a deeper uneasiness that wasn’t connected to the fear of death. With the dawn and at the evening of each day, I felt empty. When the children weren’t home, I’d allow my sadness to show. And when I expected them back, I would feign being busy or start preparing dinner and checking homework. Some days I’d get paralyzed in one position in front of the TV. Hours would pass. Precious hours. It seemed none of the things that fortified me worked. Prayer and meditation had no effect, but I continued to do both, if for no other reason than because I’m a creature of habit. I felt lost looking to find what used to be my always available mystical and spiritual center. I attempted to read The Power of Now for the fourth time, a book I adore. But time was always measured in tomorrows. Again, I tried When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron but the attempt fell flat. Music didn’t move me. Those very personal comfort songs—In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning or Someone to Watch Over Me—left me cold. Buddy Guy, Marvin Gaye, Buckwheat Zydeco, Michael Buble didn’t move me. Music had always moved me. There was something else at war internally, not just the possibility of breast cancer. I took to taking showers just so that I could give myself another breast exam. I constantly stood in front of the mirror naked from the waist up, looking for flaws, trying to see what that damn machine saw, that damn evil machine.

I called my grandmother just before Christmas. I knew she would be glad to hear from me. My grandmother never made a secret of her love and affection for me. She would say it publicly and in front of cousins and sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. I don’t know why I rated such favor. Maybe I was her strange fruit. And I knew I hadn’t fallen far from the tree in more ways than one. A stranger answered her phone. I’ve always called my grandmother “mama” or “momma.”  When I was feeling especially respectful, I’d called her Ms. Adele, like a properly brought up southern child, although I was neither. This day it was “let me talk to Ms. Adele.” The stranger on the other end said, “She ain’t here; they took her to the hospital. She was doin’ a lot of bleedin’.” I questioned the stranger further in that weird clipped tone that says, “If you don’t answer me fast enough, I’m going to reach through the phone and choke the life out of you.” You know that voice, right? Ok, maybe it’s just me. But I got some answers and I hung up the phone knowing I just had to wait.

The dysfunctional family dynamic wouldn’t allow me to call anyone else who might know something about the situation. I waited several hours to call again. During that time I tried not to think about losing her. I thought about the larger than life, out loud living, take-your-breath-away loving, you-better-hold-on-to-something-or-you’re-gonna-get-hurt laughing that my grandmother had done in her 92 years. And, slowly, I began to recognize the uneasiness that I had been feeling. I grew embarrassed at the time I had wasted in the short month since my demonic mailbox experience. I was living in fear. I had betrayed Ms. Adele and most of all I had been betraying my self by not living, as she taught me, by example, to do . . . . out loud.

The children and I visited with Ms. Adele for a while on the Saturday preceding my hospital visit. She was in good spirits and glad to be home and as she would say “tickled” to see me and her great-grandchildren. If you’ve listened to my podcast, you know how many lessons I learned from her and how I pass them on to my listeners. Back in the day, she was what people used to call a “looker.” Although she spent many hours on her feet she always wore high-heeled shoes. She knew she had great legs and she showed them off. She was almost 80 when the doctor suggested that she stop wearing the heels. She did so begrudgingly. She is small and less imposing now, barely filling her favorite chair, which has been around since I was a little girl and from which she would quite regally direct goings on in the house. From the direction of the chair, we never wanted to hear, “Don’t make me get up and come in there.” The chair is showing its age much like Adele—frayed and torn around the edges and the original upholstery barely detectable. The seat now layered with multiple towels and pads, some for comfort, others for necessity. But, oh my, her humor and mind are so sharp. She asked about my love life, of course, and what happened to the guy that came with me to visit her several years ago. Adele admonished me to pick a good man and stick with him.  But take my time picking. Now, I should say here that the “man” conversation was pure Adele and rather salty. There is, indeed, lots of her in me. I’m reminded that I got some good stuff out of her gene pool too. At the end of our visit she held on to my hand as we walked to the door—not because she needed to but she wanted to. I, on the other hand, was holding on to hers just a little tighter because I needed to. I kept my upcoming hospital visit to myself. My grandmother has claimed this time in her life just as ferociously as she has all the others and she readily admits that she’s tired. Death is nearer to her now and I believe she willingly walks with it without fear. I am proud that she is my grandmother and I hope I can live as fearlessly as she. Do you remember what the character Red from the Shawshank Redemption said, “Get busy living or get busy dying”? I saw my grandmother live. And while she may not be busy dying, her house is in order.

On January 5, I went to GW Hospital alone. No husband, no kids, no boyfriend, no girlfriend, no family. Just me and my grandmother’s spirit—ready to live loudly and fully, wanting the world to know I’m here. The mammogram technicians handled my breast like so much honey-colored Play-doh. The doctors were thorough and patient. I didn’t even flinch at the sight of an aspiration needle for the biopsy. I waited for the test result. If I had cancer, would I fall apart? Fortunately, I don’t have to answer that. After three mammograms, a sonogram and biopsy, I was sent home with, at least, a clean bill of breast health.

I started to cry as I walked along 22nd and I streets. It was ok to let the tears go. I was relieved and felt that I could take back the illusion of control of my body. And to exert that control, I headed straight to the tattoo shop! I had waited long enough. I decided several years ago that I wanted a tattoo. I laid down face up and let the artist get to work on an understated sunburst with two X’s in the middle. I’ll let you figure out what the meaning is. But after years of other people imposing their will on me, it felt really good to unleash the badass and lay claim to my own body.

Change indeed! In 2009, in the Nation’s Capital, that sound you hear, that’s not a celebration of President Barack Obama—that’s me living out loud. Feel free to say, “Sunny, What The Fuck?!”

’til next time

Sunny

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Who Decides on Number of Children?

Most recently, I spotted this piece in BlogHer: Who decides how many kids to have?

As writer Rita Arens pointed out, sometimes marriages break up because spouses can’t agree on the number of children to have. Dr. Phil says no couple should have a baby unless there are two yeses. The dissenting parent always cancels out the one yes in the relationship, something Arens and other women on the site took issue with.

Considering this is a piece of advice my father handed down to me that left a lasting impression, I tend to concur with Dr. Phil. But who knows how I would feel if my husband and I did not agree on the number of children to have.

It’s strange to be having this conversation on the week my husband is scheduled to get a vasectomy. Since the beginning of our relationship, we agreed we would stick to two children for largely environmental reasons. If we really had the desire for another one, we would adopt.

Yet, I have come across a lot of articles about regrets over vasectomy and stories like the feuding couples in BlogHer. I keep asking my husband if he wants me to be there with him during the procedure. But he has assured me it is an outpatient thing and jokes that he doesn’t want me to freak out during it. In other words, create a scene in which I pull out my hair and scream, “Don’t do it!” (We actually know of one woman who did this.)

How did you feel after permanent birth control? How did you and your partner decide on the number of children to have?

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How To Introduce Children to a Foreign Language

We have discussed raising bilingual children before, but Parents just doled out tips on how to introduce young children to foreign languages, especially if their parents are not fluent in another language other than English.

They were:

Watch and Learn: Educational DVDs and computer programs are a good resource. Your kid will pick up some words and become familiar with the unique sounds of that language. Little Pim DVDs are available in four languages. $18 to $60, littlepim.com.

Bingo: Teach your child numbers, colors, and animals by playing a bilingual version of this classic. French and Spanish Bingo, $15, eeboo.com.

Dance Party! Kids really tune in to music, so download some children’s songs from other countries to your iPod. “Your child may not understand them, but just hearing a different language will help her recognize sounds and phrases later in life,” says Rhodes. We love Sesame Street Playground: Songs and Videos from Around the World. $15, putumayo.com.

Word Wise: Teach yourself a few simple words and use them during daily rituals or errands. At the grocery store, ask your kids, “Do we need manzanas [apples]?” At bedtime, say “bonne nuit” when you tuck them in.

Global Storytime: Check out your local library for popular children’s books in other languages. There are also new titles that sprinkle non-English words into their stories. Two to try: At the Beach, by Huy Voun Lee ($8), about a mother who teaches her son Chinese characters by drawing them in the sand, and Everybody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman ($20), a tres cute intro to a few basic French words.

I am curious about supplemental educational materials like the DVDs and computer programs. Do they work? I have had this question posed to me, and honestly, I do not know. But as the experts in the article noted, any foreign language exposure at a young age is good for a child’s development, therefore worth the investment.

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Children in Public Places

I recently caught this letter in a Washington Post chat with Emily Yoffe of “Dear Prudence” fame:

Puh-leeze: To the mother taking her kids to coffee shops to roam around: Seriously? This is how your kids want to spend their day? And you don’t think that a small child “roaming around” (implying that they are out of your reach) would concern people at a places where hot beverages are placed on small, tipsy tables in cramped spaces? Tables that are generally just about eye-level for a kid? Sure, maybe your kid never bumps into anything, but most kids do, routinely. Which is probably why your fellow patrons are a bit concerned.

If an old man came to Gymboree and took a nap in the bounce house, he wouldn’t be “bothering” anyone in as much of the same way your kid isn’t “bothering” anyone. But I bet you’d still wonder why he felt the need to spend his time in a place that obviously was not designed with him in mind.

Emily Yoffe: Okay, you make a good point. Just make sure you are reading the Washington Post when you shoot a grumpy look at those toddlers.

Clearly “Puh-leeze” struck a nerve with other readers like me. Here is what someone else had to say to grumps. Prudie’s response at the end is brilliant:

To the mother taking her kids to coffee shops to roam around: Seriously? This is how your kids want to spend their day? : So once you have kids you’re barred from ever enterting a coffee shop again? Dear old or young miserable people: take a deep breath, count to ten, relax. If you want absolute silence while drinking your coffee go home. Or buy earplugs. I could understand if the kids were screaming and running around, that is just common courtesy to buy the coffee and get the kids out of there. But if they are just hanging around for a half hour or so what is the big deal?

Emily Yoffe: Here’s another perspective. Look up from all the bad news in your Washington Post and enjoy the fact that there are adorable 2 year-olds who find the world fun and entertaining and aren’t asking for a billion dollar bailout.

Seriously! This issue has weighed on my mind a lot lately as Eli is in at a tough age where the slightest thing sets her off. Lately, in church, for example, I have had to constantly take her outside after outbursts that earned me annoyed stares from elderly churchgoers. (Did these folks not have children of their own?)

I guess you could say I am trying to balance being able to go out with being considerate of those around me. What say you, MotherTalkers? Are there places you won’t take your young children?

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Initiative to Tackle Obesity in Children

A coalition of the William J. Clinton Foundation, American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and four insurance companies have unveiled an initiative to combat childhood obesity in the United States.

From the Washington Post:

Officials of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint effort of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, said the initiative is designed to give children better access to health care to fight obesity. Participating insurance companies would pay for at least four visits to a dietitian and four visits to a physician each year to provide guidance to children and their parents on how to eat better and take other steps to reduce and control their weight….

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina and BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts have signed on to the initiative, along with two of the biggest insurers — Aetna and WellPoint — and organizers hope others will follow. Several companies, including PepsiCo, Owens Corning and Paychex have also joined, offering the benefit to children of their employees.

Organizers expect that the initiative will provide the new benefit to about 1 million children in the first year and more than 6 million within three years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Dietetic Association will monitor the program and offer their expertise.

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Teaching Children Manners

Okay, here is my mommy confession for the day. In my zeal to teach my five-year-old the basics to get through the day — how to dress himself, how to brush his teeth, his ABCs, to make sure he eats and bathes — I forgot to teach him a very basic skill: How to hold a polite conversation with an adult.

Sure, he talks my ear off and is well-behaved for mami and papi. But he will not acknowledge other adults who speak to him. For example, he still refuses to speak to his grandparents on the phone. We actually threaten to take away privileges before such conversations take place. Also, he won’t say “buenos dias” back to the parents and teachers who greet him at school. Not cool.

My husband says it is because he is shy and claims he was the exact same way as a small child. (Knowing how strict my MIL is when it comes to manners, I can’t imagine that he got away with not speaking to any adults.)

A recent article in Parents (sorry, the link is not online) only stoked my guilt. According to the magazine, being able to hold a polite conversation with an adult is a valuable skill for especially a 6-to-8-year-old. Not only will it serve them when they strike it on their own in adulthood, but adults — like teachers — will like them better for it.

At 6, the magazine says, a child should be able “to introduce herself with a smile, make eye contact, and offer an audible greeting and even a handshake.” (Granted, Ari is only 5, but I cannot imagine him giving anyone his name, much less a handshake.)

My worries were only compounded as I read this article. Children are encouraged to ask their teachers questions and give more detailed responses to all questions posed by adults, not just “yes and no.” (How the heck do you do that?)

The Parents experts stated the obvious: You should teach your children to say “please” and “thank you,” which I admit, I am not always consistent. If I am having an off-day, I will just give my kids what they ask for and not push them to thank me for it. Now that I have seen this article, I will make sure to re-enforce it.

Finally, here is one area I often wonder about: How should my children address adults? We see our good friends Amy and Will every day so our children address them by their first names and their son addresses us by our first names. No one has corrected anyone and I really prefer to be addressed by my first name. A “Mrs.” salutation would make me feel old — and distant. Ari attends a Spanish immersion school and the teachers are referred to as “Maestro/a First Name,” which would translate to “Teacher Angela,” for example. I have never encountered a situation here in Berkeley where my children would call an adult “Mr.” or “Mrs..” But I certainly don’t want to set a bad precedent here in the manners department.

How do you teach your children manners? Also, how do you help a shy child open up to an adult who is not mom or dad?

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Scientists using own children as guinea pigs

Would you conduct experiments on your own child?

This fascinating NYT article informed me that scientists have been doing it for decades:

Jonas Salk injected his children with his polio vaccine. Clarence Leuba, a psychologist, wondering if laughter in response to tickling was learned or innate, forbade tickling of his infant son and daughter, except when he tickled them, wearing a mask to hide his expression.

There’s a new crop of scientists conducting experiments on their children, and ethicists are torn on the propriety of it all.

Arthur Toga, a neurology professor at the medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles, studying brain change, scanned his three children’s brains using magnetic resonance imaging.

Stephen M. Camarata at the medical school at Vanderbilt, has involved all seven of his children in studies of learning problems and speech.

And Deb Roy, at M.I.T., embedded 11 video cameras and 14 microphones in ceilings throughout his house, recording 70 percent of his son’s waking hours for his first three years, amassing 250,000 hours of tape for a language development study he calls the Human Speechome Project.

Some research methods are clearly benign; others, while not obviously dangerous, might not have fully understood effects. Ethicists said they would consider participation in some projects acceptable, even valuable, but raised questions about the effect on the child, on the relationship with the parent, and on the objectivity of the researcher or the data.

“The role of the parent is to protect the child,“ said Robert M. Nelson, director of the Center for Research Integrity at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Once that parent becomes an investigator, it sets up an immediate potential conflict of interest. And it potentially takes the parent-child relationship and distorts it in ways that are unpredictable.“

What do you think? Would you conduct experiments on your own child? Would you offer your child up as a research subject in someone else’s experiment? Why or why not?

And have any of you ever participated in any studies or experiments? Please share your stories!

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