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November 15, 2005

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Arleta

I did alot of that stuff, too. My kids are almost 16, 12, and 7. They are also turning out just as great as the kids whose parents were "perfect". Do your thing and give 'em love and they will be just fine! ps. I think your knitting and your baby are great!

Adelaide

How bold! How effing awesome! I'm still in college (the kooky one in your town) and spend a lot of time with babies and knitting. I can only hope that when I have my own children I can enjoy them and life as much as you seem to without sacrificing my own needs. And p.s. to all the judgers, how perfect was your mom? Because mine, god bless her, was, er, a bit unorthodox. And I've turned out swimmingly. Well done.

Vicki

Good for you! I promise he won't hold it against you :)

PuppyMomma

I'm sorry, but all those things you listed are what I think makes a good mother. Our mothers did the same things and we turned out ok (who am I to talk, I have dogs...). Hell, they let us eat dirt and those red m&m's that caused cancer. I say you are doing just fine! And if someone says otherwise, let me know and I'll have the boys pee in their cereal.

Julia

Ditto. And I don't find the comment you left even vaguely offensive. Mother on!

Cara

I'm with you on the judgment thing. My god - who ARE these people? What kind of lives do they lead that they have to belittle others' choices to make themselves feel better?

Oh and I don't care if you walk your dog off leash - as long as I'm not there to see you do it. ;-)

sarah gilbert

that's probably my favorite all-time photo. (says the mama who gives her baby paper to keep him quiet on the airplane when she's exhausted all her other ideas)

Stephanie

ah, this made my day!

Brynne

I don't think anyone is safe from being judged -- it really goes both ways. I get tons of crap for nursing my toddler. I would never say anything to another mother about how she's choosing to raise her child, but plenty of people give me their opinion. I thought the whole point was that we're all supposed to be able to make our own choices. Good for standing up for yourself!

hb

I had to read that "she doesn't know what she's doing" comment three times before it sank in. Could that be a real parent? I've only been a nanny and even I know what bunk that is. Rock on with your tired self and keep up the good work! Your comment offensive? Hardly.

Brynne

Just in case that didn't make as much sense as I hoped (maybe the sleep thing?) what I meant was that whatever mothering camp you're in, you'll still get harassed. I didn't mean that you're judging people. I think I'll just stop while I'm ahead now.

Maddux

Don't worry, my mommy not only *lets* me watch ANTM, she *makes* me watch it! It's not like I have to nurse every time it's on, but to hear her tell it, you'd think I insisted on eating every time that show comes on. She fed me green tea ice cream once when I was five months old and then swore everyone at the table to secrecy because she had planned on "waiting until six months" before starting non-allergenic foods a week apart. HA! Not only that, but she leaves comments on blogs and signs my name to them. You and I need to get together sometime and figure out how to punish our terrible mothers! ;)

hau

Phew, guess I'm not the only one taking short cuts. Since we're coming clean, I've been letting the TV babysit way too much lately ;-)

Cecily Stewart

Hi Larissa,
I'm your sock scrap swap partner...and I'm wondering if you ever got my package? I sent it a few days late, right at the end of last month/beginning of this month. I certainly hope you did receive it, but if you didn't, I can probably put together another one.

:)
Cecily

semaphoria

travis is rooting for kim on ATNM, whose baz rooting for? :)

SC

Rock on! I am a fairly new mom (who just took up knitting as a hobby which leads me to you) and I get so sick of reading about how everything I do as a mom is inadequate. I am not sure why moms feel the need to put such extreme pressure on one another.

Kara

If you breastfed at all, you're doing better than most of the people around here! And it's safer for little ones to sleep in a crib to avoid the SIDS. See? You're doing great already! Also, germs are good for babies, they help them develop a healthy immune system and possibly avoid asthma.

beth

Welcome to parenthood. What until they talk back! Hee hee. I hope he never tells me to fuck off! I enjoy the hugs I get every day though......

Take care!

larissa

Sebastian likes Kim too! He's hoping it comes down to Lisa and Kim for a knock down drag out ending...But then Kim wins.

Kay

Wow, how did I miss this? Right on, sister, with the truth-telling.

I love this post. Why is everything a competition?

Who was the wise person who wrote that the best mother is the good-enough mother?

xoxo Kay

katie

Hey, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. You just shower him with love. That's all that matters!

someone

We all make mistakes, but don't you think there's a limit? I find some of those things you listed pretty despicable. Sorry, I'm not going to pat you on the back like everyone else seems to be doing.

Rose

I honestly can't believe people are cheering you on for propping bottles. Way to put your kid's life at risk.

Kris

I can't believe you think propping a bottle is fine. I sincerely hope your child does not choke to death. Poor baby.

jodi

"yousuckatparenting.com"?? Give me an effing break. I'm betting these last three comments all came from the same person. Maybe even someone who isn't a parent herself.

As someone without children, I try to be pretty careful about passing judgement on parents, since parenting is something that I don't really know anything about. A lot of people seem to do their best parenting before they have kids, and then when they do spawn they realize how freaking hard it is, and how self-riteously ignorant they were back when they were saying, "I'd never raise MY kid like that".

Kris

I agree with the two comments before mine, though I did not write them. I have two children who have never had a propped bottle. Ever. I also did not mutilate my son by having him circumsized.

larissa

Ah, Kris, you persist in not allowing me to answer you.

It's fine that not everyone thinks the same things are good and right. There are certainly many parents out there with methods I disagree with. But if you're going to be assy about it, at least give me the chance to write back, instead of using your snarky fake email address.

And don't think for a minute that just because you haven't propped a bottle that you're better than me or that your child is somehow having a better life. Life, and parenting, are just not that simple.

Reader X

Boy this is as dramatic as professional wrestling. On one hand, blogger, you did ASK for some judgment, so it's not that surprising that somebody showed up with a SuperSoaker.

On the other hand, the judge that showed up has the same old script. "In the past people may have been ignorant, but now that we know that cosleeping / breastfeeding / noncircumsizing / babywearing / homeschooling / ostrich-meat-eating / shoeless living / gay-marriage-denying / you-name-it-ing is the absolute best thing to do, YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE."

Back in the Victorian era there were blowhards who took the same party line about the hot new baby-feeding technology of the day: bottles with cow's teats-nipples that were NOT changed, not for days or weeks. Mmm the bacteria!

So: how the hell do we really know what is best? And what do we even mean by the best?

For some things it's pretty clear. Breastfeeding has medical benefits in terms that can be defined. For other things, there's little evidence, but common sense comes into play. If you do occasionally prop a bottle, obviously the important thing to do is to monitor the situation closely.

Finally there's the category of bombast. When somebody claims that a lifestyle choice like cosleeping is absolutely, undeniably, better, you have to ask what they mean and how they hell they would know. Has somebody really tracked coslept kids vs non-coslept kids for 29 years and discovered that one is somehow superior to the other? I venture that some of both turn out lousy, and some of both turn out great.

On the same note, are millions of men really abuse victims, living ghosts, because they have been circumcized? The race of Jews would beg to differ..

It's pretty obvious kids need consistent love and support. Beyond that, a lot of today's requirements are fads like the SuperSoaker and the WWE.

Though I am thinking that a teutonic breastfeeding or bottlefeeding advocate (doesn't matter which, as long as they're shrill!) would make a good stock character on "Smackdown..."

Kris

"makes me sleep alone in a spit-up encrusted crib"
Really? That’s just gross and sad to me. Would you sleep comfortably in a bed “encrusted” with something?

"lets me cry myself to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night"
How sad for your baby. All he is learning from this is that mommy won’t come if he needs something. Even Ferber has admitted his wrong on this one.

"doesn't wear me in a sling very much"
Oh well.

"doesn't even breastfeed me anymore!"
I see that you at least gave him the best for four months. That’s more than a lot of moms do.

"when she did breastfeed me, she ate wheat and dairy!"
Why is this a problem? If there are no known allergies in your family then there is no reason for you to avoid these things while breastfeeding. In fact, what food you eat while breastfeeding doesn’t really matter all that much unless your baby has a reaction to it, then you can just eliminate the offending food.

"props my bottle; i am so going to get wretched gums"
There is a real risk of choking. Not to mention that you don’t seem to mind that you are doing harm to your baby. You admitted it yourself with the gums remark. Yet you still defend it.

"doesn't bathe me or the dog half as much as she should"
I’m concerned about this remark because of the bib shown in the picture. It is really disgusting.

"doesn't even bathe herself"
That’s your choice I suppose.

"posts comments that upset people"
Don’t we all sometimes?

"has a dog who walks off-leash"
Maybe you at least scoop the poop?

"lets me eat all kinds of food"
Variety in the diet is good for babies to an extent. They don’t need sugary stuff, obviously.

"lets me suck dirty toys"
That’s just lazy and gross.

"is tired, which = she doesn't know what she's doing (see comment #3)"
I think all moms are tired, lack of sleep does that to a person after awhile.

"doesn't believe in Jesus Christ"
Not touching this one.

"allowed me to be circumsized"
Why? I just don’t get why anyone would allow their son to undergo a completely unnecessary surgery.

"allows me to watch America's Next Top Model, on days I stay up that late"
Is he just stuck in front of the tv alone? I think most moms watch tv and let their kids watch some too. I just don't think it makes a good babysitter.

"gives me Tylenol and Orajel"
I have given my baby tylenol too when he has a fever. Hopefully you follow the dosing instructions carefully. Too much Tylenol can be fatal.

"would sometimes rather knit me a sweater than actually hang out with me"
But at those times he’s with someone else who wants to be with him right? Hopefully

"is going to lie to me about Santa"
Ok then.

"Seems like in parenting blog land today, judgment is the new yoga. I'm not actually ashamed of ANY of these behaviors. I'm just offering myself up for my serving right now, to sort of get it out of the way. Have a nice day."

You did ask for opinions, correct? Those are my opinions. My major issue with your post is that you are proclaiming your laziness as a mom. If not lazy, just apathetic. In all honesty, it makes me sad for your baby. I wish all babies had moms who take the time to love them and I’m not seeing that in this post.

larissa

Kris, what you don't seem to be getting is that this post was an exaggeration, a *fictionalization* based extremely loosely on reality and based mostly on some judgmental crap that was going around on the parenting blogs I read. I posted this as a reaction. Anyone who has read my blog for more than one post was able to see that, and that's why other readers before you supported me. But I have a feeling you are not a regular reader and didn't get it.

For example, the baby does not really watch TV *at all.* Not for one minute a day. And his crib is clean and lovely. His toys are run through the washer and dishwasher regularly, as befits their material. The post was not real. It was not about my real behavior. It was sarcastic. The picture was very unusual for him; we were having a hard day and he got prunes on his bib while using his new mesh feeder. He never looks like that, and that's why it was funny to those who know us.

I'd have to be nuts to post these things about myself if they were entirely true to the extent they are stated.

The only points with which you and I might have areas of actual debate are the bottle and the circumcision. As for those, I can only say that we disagree and that we had our informed reasons for making the decisions we made. For exmaple, articles in the New England Journal of Medicine having to do with circumcision. Like most parents, we made the choices we feel are right and best.

Kris

I am really, really relieved to hear that these are, for the most part, exagerations. To which New England Journal of Medicine article are you referring? I would like to read it if you can muster a link. I've yet to see an argument for circumcision that causes me to sway in the slightest. I genuinely like to read any information that might influence a parent to opt for the surgery since it's so far out of my realm of consideration.
As for the bottle propping... it can cause so many bad things, I just don't get why anyone would do it.

larissa

This is one article. NEJM April 2002. (To get a full text link you have to subscribe; I link to the abstract below. This is a quote from the abstract).

Results: Penile HPV was detected in 166 of the 847 uncircumcised men (19.6 percent) and in 16 of the 292 circumcised men (5.5 percent). After adjustment for age at first intercourse, lifetime number of sexual partners, and other potential confounders, circumcised men were less likely than uncircumcised men to have HPV infection (odds ratio, 0.37; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.16 to 0.85). Monogamous women whose male partners had six or more sexual partners and were circumcised had a lower risk of cervical cancer than women whose partners were uncircumcised (adjusted odds ratio, 0.42; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.23 to 0.79). Results were similar in the subgroup of men in whom circumcision was confirmed by medical examination.

Conclusions: Male circumcision is associated with a reduced risk of penile HPV infection and, in the case of men with a history of multiple sexual partners, a reduced risk of cervical cancer in their current female partners.

Link:
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/346/15/1105

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