Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Plugged and stuffed

My suburb is being transformed. Once a poor working class area, house prices are now very high. This is on a par with most of the city. It is close to the city centre, to public transport, and is on a little narrow peninsula. It still has a village feel to it. And there are plenty of cafes ats well.The demographic character is changing. There are many young people moving here, and they have been nesting and hatching. Prams, babies and little kids are everywhere, and the school enrolments are increasing.

The devoted parents take their children to and from school. What amazes me is firstly the number of babies being wheeled around with their mouths plugged by dummies (pacifiers in the USA) . Quite old children suck on dummies - two to four years of age. Why do they need dummies as they are being wheeled along the streets?

Nor is it only the dummies which fill their mouths. They seem to need feeding before and after school. They call in to Baker's Delight and are bought iced buns. After school they are back, having sweet soft drinks, iced buns, chips and other snacks, like Slurpies and ice blocks. What do they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? When do they stop sucking and chewing?

Some days I am tempted to take up pen and forms, and to do a questionnaire. Do they do this every day, before and after school? What does it cost each day, per child and in total? Do they eat breakfast before they set out for school? I wonder has any such survey been done?

I hasten to sdd that I am no paragon, and have over-indulged  on confectionery far too often and for far too long. My own bad habits  have led me to regard general over-consumption with some degree of concern. As I write I am munching rice crackers....


Elephant's Child said...

I would like to see that questionnaire.
We were taken to school on very, very rare occasions. Mostly we took ourselves. On foot, by bicycle, by bus. And when we were very young siblings had the responsibility for getting us to school - and home again.

Jan said...

I walked to school with my father who taught there. We used to pass a lolly shop which sold old fashioned lollies from large jars. Conversation lollies, musk sticks, boiled sweets. We never went in. A teacher's salary was small in those days and there was an emphasis on plenty of plain, healthy food, fresh milk from the dairy two doors down and fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden.

On the other hand, my nephew, now 21 was taken and collected by his mother to a well known private school only a few minutes walk from his place. In the afternoon she would take him to afternoon tea. A milkshake, sometimes two, and hot chips would appear before him as if by magic. On Saturdays she would splurge on a big morning tea.

She died when he was in fifth class and my brother spent a long time getting his son's weight down to an acceptable level. Years and years.

I too am horrified at the use of dummies. I hated them and did not want them for my children. However their father was determined none of his would be a thumbsucker and he tried and tried to get them to take a dummy. Not one of my sons would accept it from an early age. Each spat his dummy well and truly out. Not one was a thumb sucker.

Pam said...

I never liked dummies but both my daughters, especially the elder, sucked two fingers. My neighbour threw away her child's dummy when he was 2 and that was the end of it. My older daughter sucked her fingers (when she was reading or getting to sleep) till she was about 9, despite trying to break herself of the habit. She then needed to wear braces on her teeth because she had distorted them.

Now my grandson (3)sucks his thumb when tired or unwell - not so much nowadays but already his teeth are slightly pulled outwards.

I actually think a dummy would have been better for them - but on the other hand, it's impossible to know which children are going to be thumb/finger suckers. And dummies don't look very nice.

persiflage said...

Onlly today I passed a mother with a child over two, who was busy having a tantrum while sucking the dummy. Bedtime is one thing, but a dummy as an all-day sucker is another.

Pam said...

Well, yes, but the trouble is that fingers can be sucked at any point during the day and it's very difficult to get rid of them! At least one could eventually "lose" the dummy, as my neighbour did.

I still don't actually think that I could bear to give my child a dummy but I think it might have been better in the long run. I probably wouldn't do it, though, just because they look rather... umm...