There are times when I am brutally reminded that I live in suburbia. Not that there's anything wrong with that ... it can just feel depressing sometimes. Perfect example: when the PTA moms (and, yes, I am technically one of them) get their panties in a bunch about cupcakes (and to be fair to the increasingly active dads, their boxers or briefs ~ for those men and women going commando, that's another post).
At a recent meeting, there was mention that birthday celebrations might be reduced to one per month. Each child will be recognized on their actual birthday with the usual crown or pin, song or whatever, but celebrations will be one time for all birthdays that month. I don't even recall that banning cupcakes was mentioned. Healthy choices are being encouraged (i.e. fruit platters), and the entire issue is being clouded with allergy concerns, wellness concerns and education (time away from instruction) so it gets confusing ... and loud.
You might have thought someone had threatened children's lives. The immediate and frenzied reaction was truly something to witness. Now, I love my kids as much as the next person, but do I really think that not having a cupcake or a donut or whatever on their birthday is going to scar them for life and irrevocably alter their early childhood? NO. (My daughter is a summer birthday anyway, so she is already discriminated against by these standards.) I also do not think that childhood obesity has a damn thing to do with snacks in school. The cupcake the obese child is eating has nothing on the crap he or she probably eats at home while sitting around watching TV and playing video games.
Within days, local news reported that a district in the neighboring county actually did ban cupcakes (www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/cupcakes-out-west-babylon-schools-ban-home-baked-goodies-1.1521806). The buzz was intense. Allergy moms pitted against non-allergy moms. Socialists threatening libertarians. OK, not really. But you would have thought people were fighting over something more substantial than a cupcake. With cries of "you can't tell me what to feed my child" and "it's freedom of choice," you definitely would not walk into the room and think the virulent debate was about baked goods. After all, not having cupcakes on your birthday in school is unAmerican! Call O'Reilly, Beck and Hannity QUICK!
The passion exhibited over this topic depresses me. With everything going on in the world, with everything one could expend energy on, people get riled up and active about cupcakes?!?? Really??? It just disturbs me.
Lots of parents who are also teachers in other districts (some on LI, some in the city) say it's only a matter of time before the state makes school food-free (obviously, aside from lunch). There are too many parties anyway. Don't even get me started on Thanksgiving celebrations ...
Point is: it seems to me that a lot of time and energy will be spent on an issue that is going to be decided for us in the end. How can we channel the motivation and the interest surrounding cupcakes to something more productive and beneficial to the community as a whole? That's my mystery for the month. I fear it will never be solved.