HELP YOURSELF

There's no proof behind the science. The article even begins, "No hard evidence exists to show mobile phones damage health." But if you're looking for something new to worry about, step right up, we have a table waiting for you in the "Cellphones Will Kill Your Child" room.

HALF OF OUR PLATE AT EVERY MEAL SHOULD BE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES? BETTER BE A BIG PLATE.

The feds are ready to release their new dietary guidelines - eat less, don't eat so much, put down that eclair, yada yada - although a revision of the famous Food Pyramid is still to come, amid much speculation about its potential new shape and how it will affect the lifestyles of, well, virtually no one.

Freelance Dad steps into this vacuum with the Tiny Girl Food Trapezoid: A narrow bar of broccoli at the top, a second narrow bar of chicken at the bottom, and a vast center bar composed entirely of rice.

IN SEARCH OF . . . CHILDREN RAISED BY WOLVES

"Today" show contributor Dr. Gail Saltz wants your children to be better mannered - any we're completely on board with that. So during the course of a normal day recently, we tried to elevate Small Fellow and Tiny Girl's behavior through the prism of Dr. Saltz' checklist. Let's see how it went:

Dining
"If you explain the importance of manners . . . and that you want them to show you respect at the table as well (by not eating with fingers, chewing with their mouth open, etc.) you are much more likely to help them acquire the manners."

FD: Fellow, why don't you use a fork? Your fork is right there! Look, we brought you a fork! OK, now put your legs in front of you. No, Fellow, that's not how a big boy sits. Sit with your legs in front of you, then you won't make such a mess with your food!

Small Fellow: Daddy, come on!

Tiny Girl: Daddy, I want more rice.
Daddy, more rice, please.
Daddy, I want some more rice - RIGHT NOW!

Respectful dressing
Dressing appropriately and respectfully for the place you are going is a valuable skill. . . This has nothing to do with expensive clothes, but rather looking neat and appropriate.

Tiny Girl: Look, Daddy, I took off my Pull-Up!
FD: Tiny, you have to have a diaper on.
Tiny Girl: No, I don't WANT to! . . . Look, Daddy, I took off my Pull-Up!
FD: Ok, can I get you dressed then?
Tiny Girl: No, I want Mommy to get me -- DRESSED! . . . Daddy, I want yellow.

Speaking to others
The art of talking to other people is important. . . . Remembering to say "please" and "thank you" also demonstrates a respect and appreciation of the other person.

FD: Fellow, will you please put your shoes on?
Small Fellow: Daddy, stop saying THAT! Come on!
FD:
Well, you need to put your shoes on or you won't be able to go to school.
Small Fellow:
I think that tonight, when you get home from work, you have to go to a different house, and then after tomorrow I will call you and tell you you can come back here with us.

THE FD.COM QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The Web site www.edge.org recently asked scientists from a variety of fields this question: "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" About 120 have responded so far, and a while back the Times excerpted some of their replies in the Science section. Our favorite was from Alison Gopnik, a Berkeley psychologist and co-author of the parenting must-read "The Scientist in the Crib":

I believe, but cannot prove, that babies and young children are actually more conscious, more vividly aware of their external world and internal life, than adults are. I believe this because there is strong evidence for a functional trade-off with development. Young children are much better than adults at learning new things and flexibly changing what they think about the world. On the other hand, they are much worse at using their knowledge to act in a swift, efficient and automatic way. They can learn three languages at once but they can't tie their shoelaces.

For the rest of her reply, look here.

IF ANYONE AT "LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT" READS ESPN THE MAGAZINE, EXPECT TO SEE THIS RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES BY FALL

According to ESPN the Magazine, 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell just coached a Pop Warner football team to the kiddie-football national finals, by preaching discipline, hard work, and study. In fact, "Coach Luke," part-time rap provocateur, First Amendment poster child, and adult video and club impresario, has become a father figure to his young charges from Miami. As for his Captain Nasty persona? "That's his adult life, and he keeps it separate,' said the mother of twins who play on his Warriors offensive line.

But occasionally the old Luther comes out. Asked about his offensive scheme for the championship game, Coach Luke reportedly said, "Me so confident. We gonna run the ball - long time."

January 12, 2005 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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