Anyone notice something off in the air these days?

We may have thought the atmosphere was toxic earlier this summer when all the sex scandals hit. Now that we’re in the dead of it, with heat and humidity beyond human capacity, media coverage has run completely wild. Yes, summer has arrived with all its beach-read news cycles. Parenting news is not an exception.

First the Rococo stuff.

Thanks to the New York Times for two eminently e-mail-able stories, if not actual trends, from recent days. The first, from Monday, detailed how a certain set of parents is increasingly jetting their scions to summer camp. “To Reach Simple Life of Summer Camp, Lining Up for Private Jets,” included lines like this one:

“One private jet broker, Todd Rome of Blue Star Jets, said his summer-camp business had jumped 30 percent over the last year.”

Populist anger boiling yet? If not, go back a few days for this story, also from the Times, about family-of-four-sized-and-outfitted playhouses titles, “Child’s Play, Grown-Up Cash.”

Beside photos of treehouse excess, a former Playboy-model-mother featured said, “I think of it as bling for the yard.”

This story was passed to me by a dozen people. I have to guess that’s at least two more than have ever built one of these play/mess-your-kids-up-houses. But who cares about news value when a story oozes, “No. She. Did. Not.”

Now on to the more serious outrageous stories.

This one, “Sex Offender or Teenage Jerk?” was sent to me by Lenore Skenazy, Free Range Kids blogger and collector of telling oddities.

It begins about two years ago when, “according to, [two 14-year-old-boys] pulled down their pants and sat on two 12-year-olds’ faces for the simple reason that they “thought it was funny” and were trying to get their ‘friends to laugh.’ ”

They were then hauled before a judge. One was convicted of “criminal sexual contact” with intent to humiliate or degrade, the other pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact. Last week, now that both have turned 16, the two appealed their convictions. They lost.

That means these kids are to be considered permanent sex offenders, with limits on where they live and work. For the rest of their lives they must comply with the life-altering and onerous sex offender registry rules.

It is for good reason these rules are life-altering and onerous. But are these the folks the registries were intended to include? Teen-age face-sitters?

Finally, to end on a more upbeat note, we’ll reach back into the summer mailbag to pull out the not-yet-released-but-already-reviled-Breast Milk Baby.

This doll “works by making motions and suckling sounds when a sensor in its mouth gets close to a flowery halter top the child wears while ‘breast-feeding.’

It’s set to be released at a trade show this week in, of course, Las Vegas. Already, it’s gotten as much attention (The View, Parentdish, ABC, USA Today, Fox, The Post to name a few fans) as a political sexting love triangle. Or the federal debt limit negotiations.

If you can’t a rush an order, don’t worry there’s still a good month left of summer.