Jewish World Review Dec. 3, 2003 / 8 Kislev, 5764
When tots control the world
have discovered that toddlers are just as obnoxious as teenagers.
According to a survey commissioned by Mother and Baby magazine, 42 percent of 3-year-olds have a
television in their room and 50 percent have a CD player. Furthermore, two-thirds of mothers say they have
bought designer clothes for their toddlers and 86 percent say they spend more on their child's clothes than they
do on their own.
Lastly, 93 percent of mothers say they travel to and from work in a stroller while their young offspring tool around
in a minivan equipped with a VCR and airbags.
I am making that last part up, possibly, but the point of the matter is that toddlers are enjoying the kind of lifestyle
one normally associates with Tyco International executives, only without Jimmy Buffet and an ice sculpture
It is one thing to be intimidated by a 16-year-old with a nose ring and size 12 sneakers; it is another thing
entirely to have your life dominated by a person who eats his meals in a high chair and insists that you read
"Goodnight Moon" to him a minimum of six times a night.
I think we all need to take a step (or possibly three) back from this subject and discuss how we can regain
control of our universe from people who still think of crayons as a food group:
1) Under no circumstances should 3-year-olds be given charge cards. One Big Bird sock puppet may be
intellectually stimulating but 300 of them are simply excessive. Plus, very few toddlers can give you an accurate
explanation of APR with or without a pocket calculator.
2) Toddlers do not need their own personal computer. If they express sufficient curiosity, you may let them log
on as a "guest" on your computer but only if they agree not to use your charge card for any "inappropriate" ads. (See above.)
3) According to the survey, 61 percent of tots will eat Italian food but only 3 percent like sushi. Just to show him
who's boss, you should force your toddler to eat raw sea urchin at least once a month.
4) There is nothing wrong with giving your 3-year-old his or her own TV because that means it's less likely that
their little jelly-smeared fingers will gum up your remote control. But you need to instill in them at an early age
that TV is not intended for entertainment purposes or anything remotely associated with fun. Program your
child's TV (don't ask me how) so that all he receives is "Jeopardy" and home-improvement channels. A child
who is re-shingling your roof or building you a new deck is a child who is not running up your charge card on
900 numbers or gorging on manicotti.
5) Do not under any circumstances eat your meals in the same room with your toddler. It is hard enough
maintaining a romantic relationship with your spouse without dodging a volley of lima beans every evening. Your
marriage will be much better off if you feed your 3-year-old in the middle of an open field or in a neighboring
state. Wash him off afterward with a high-pressure hose and let him air-dry. When he lets you know that he's
developed a taste for sashimi, you may let him back into the house.
Appreciate this column? Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.
11/18/03: Danger: TVs falling from above
11/11/03: Songs that won't go away
11/04/03: Keep technology away from the monkeys
10/29/03: A career of sensational regrets
10/22/03: Ig Nobels reward weird science
10/16/03: TV golf needs a kick in the pants
10/08/03: That's geek to me
09/30/03: A man, a woman and a cat
09/22/03: A tale of two spams
09/16/03: Librarian action figure will be taking no guff
09/10/03: Slackers need to remain invisible
09/02/03: No fun in the summertime
08/26/03: The algebra of love
08/11/03: Journey to the center of the pavement cracks
08/06/03: Word dominance by U.S. appears a fait accompli
07/28/03: Ads that are hard to swallow
07/09/03: Keep cows out of the classroom
07/03/03: Little-appreciated facts about unshaven men
06/24/03: Brother, can you paradigm?
06/18/03: Cats, TV not a good mix
06/10/03: In defense of grumpiness
06/04/03: Do we really need keyboards in our Port-A-Johns?
05/29/03: Always a dull men's moment
05/21/03: Bad PC hygiene leads to bugs
05/12/03:Army mops up; Tony Blair doesn't
05/06/03: Grill a hamburger for PETA
05/01/03: Exams spice history
04/23/03: Too much money? Tax me more!
04/14/03: When good gourds go bad
04/11/03: One fish-tale that isn't --- and that's no lie!
04/02/03: Do you really want to know what your dog's thinking?
03/26/03: Pajamas make high school less stressful
03/21/03: It's time to be nice to the French
03/03/03: The ultimate clean and constructive sport
02/12/03: Get a bang out of cleaning with cruise vacuum
02/06/03: Voluntary kindness? Not likely
01/28/03: Signs our economy is on upswing
01/22/03: There may be cash in your old underwear
01/15/03: Banish these words, now more than ever
01/07/03: Coughing as an art form
12/24/02: Parents shell out for missed homework
12/17/02: French government says no to @ symbol
12/11/02: A latecomer joins fellowship of the DVD
12/02/02: Don't worry, be fat, unfit and really happy
11/18/02: Intrigued by a German invention that could get teens out of bed before the crack of noon
11/06/02: A noose by any other name ...
10/29/02: Iranian dogs on notice
10/22/02: Talk about a job that stinks --- literally!
10/15/02: The official world's funniest joke
10/02/02: Japanese turn eyes to computer haikus
09/27/02: Oh, no! Bosses want to know what's on your mind
09/24/02: An airbag, humanity's salvation?
09/17/02: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!
09/06/02: Come listen to a story about a man named ... Bill
09/03/02: You're not in preschool anymore!
08/30/02: A charming idea from a brutal, whacked-out, megalomaniacal dictator-for-life
08/26/02: Blubber water? How to put on the pounds by gulping H20
08/21/02: The latest evidence that Mother Nature is out to kill us
08/13/02: Computers, airplanes and Canada don't mix
08/06/02: The sky's not falling? Dang it!
08/02/02: Some fond memories of worst TV shows
07/30/02: Pay my credit-card bill, please?
07/25/02: Something to celebrate
07/22/02: Baseball needs to ban the fans
07/16/02: Hasbro should consider new inaction figure
07/11/02: Decline in trash-talking is harming our mental health? Well, #@%&!
07/08/02 Americans retain right to fork tongues
07/01/02 These laws were made to be broken
06/18/02 Watching enough commercials?
06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending
© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune