GOOD TO HEAR – By Mac Cordell

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Coffee beanie baby
I like coffee. Strike that, I love coffee.
It is the best reason I can think of to go to sleep at night — this knowledge that I will have coffee when I wake. I have a 38-ounce mug, purchased from a local convenience store. It is big, but has a small bottom so it fits in my car cup holder while still maintaining a nice balance.
I am a bit of a coffee snob. I like what I like and I dislike what I dislike. I don’t like Starbucks as they burn the beans. Additionally, standing in like at Starbucks is more than I can take. My wife enjoys the iced tea, so I will go there on occasion to put money on her card or to grab a tea for her. While there, I am nearly always forced to listen to 11-year-old girls talk about how they love coffee, while ordering and then sipping a drink that more closely resembles a milk shake than a coffee.
I have a coffee pot that my wife bought for $9. It is not fancy. It does have the ability to make a pot of coffee on its own at a specified time, but I don’t really trust it so each morning I make a pot of coffee.
Anyway, I love coffee. Like so many things, my 3-year-old son Ben, has taken after me. According to a recent study by the Harvard School for Public Health, the craving for coffee could actually be genetic.
When Ben was about nine months old, he started sipping the remains from my coffee mug when I would get home. It was cute because he was so little and the mug was so big. There was never much in the cup, but apparently it was enough. Soon he started to ask for the cup when I would get home. I would specifically leave a bit in there for him. Eventually, he would ask for the cup while I was drinking my coffee.
At about a year and a half, he started to want some in his own cup if he saw me pouring coffee.
Eventually, he started asking me for coffee, even if I didn’t have any. I also found out he was doing the same thing to my father-in-law. Each morning during the school year he would ask Papaw for a cup of coffee. Papaw would fix him half to two-thirds of a coffee cup.
During the summer he doesn’t go to his grandparents’ house, so I make a little extra coffee and leave it in the pot for his mother to give him.
When my coworkers learned of this, they were mortified. They wondered what kind of parent gives a child coffee.
To be fair, what kind of child asks for coffee? Well, I will tell you. About 15 percent of Boston-area children drink coffee, according to a survey conducted by the Boston Medical Center.
According to the study, families where coffee consumption is a cultural norm are more likely to give their children coffee. The study also explained that Hispanic families in America are more likely to give their children coffee and explained that in places like Cambodia, Australia and Ethiopia, parents commonly give coffee to their children even before their fifth birthday.
The study went on to explain that the impact of coffee on toddlers and children is relatively unknown because there hasn’t been much research. It did cite one study that found 2-year-olds who drank coffee or tea had three times the risk of obesity, possibly because those drinks make kids crave more sugary beverages or simply because kids rarely drink coffee black. Ben does. We might add a Splenda but no sugar or milk so that study seems not to be relevant to our situation.
Additionally, a little caffeine helps increase focus and attention.
I don’t think he is addicted to coffee, though with his general disposition it is difficult to tell if he is jittery or agitated.
Anyway, he likes it and what parent doesn’t want to share their love for something with a child.
So I want to hear from other people on your thoughts. Would you give your children coffee? Am I crazy? I really do want to hear from parents at mcordell@marysvillejt.com.
-Mac Cordell is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.



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