Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

First, I want to wish our Cynmill — and Laura! — a very happy birthday. Here’s to a fabulous day for a fabulous trio!

In case you missed it, Newt Gingrich won the Republican primary in South Carolina this past Saturday. Here are detailed results courtesy of AP.

Brain, Child magazine ran a bittersweet story on the complicated history and nature of sibling relationships.

This blog post at BlogHer, in which a new mom claims that “parenting isn’t hard” and that yelling at your children in public is tantamount to abuse, perhaps not surprisingly, garnered a lot of reaction in the thread.

A couple in the UK that refused to reveal the gender of their baby for five years, just announced to the world that they have a boy, according to Yahoo Shine.

Parents magazine published a comprehensive story on the lack of paid maternity leave in this country. MomsRising executive director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner was quoted in the second half of the story.

Actress Jessica Alba launched an organic diapering service called Honest.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


167 thoughts on “Monday Morning Open Thread

  1. Happy Birthday Laura and Cynmill!

    Hope that you both have fantastic days surrounded by love, laughter, and good food :-)  

    I’m trying to get back into the swing of “real life” now that the job market stuff is done.  It’s been a bit surreal and one unpleasant visitor has been my anxiety which has come back with a vengeance. It’s like now that I have some cushion in my time, it’s decided to take that time over.  So I’m trying to somewhat proactively address that before it really gets bad.  

    And I just realized that summer camp sign up has already started for a couple things and starts for everything else in a week…  I’m not ready to think about that yet!  Although the thought of blue skies and warm weather is nice :)

  2. I don’t know about you ladies

    but I am still laughing my head off about GiGi’s DD and her vaginaahhhh.

    happy birthday to two lovely ladies!

    Will have to go read the “parenting isn’t hard” article. I have had a friend who had a very compliant and eager to please child, and talking parenting with her when our kids were toddlers used to drive me over the edge.

    • oh yeah two of my friends

      had these easy peasy babies who smiled  and cooed and turned into toddlers who played quietly in their rooms for hours.. .the judgement over my hard to manage bundle of anxiety child was so thick you could cut it with a knife…

      but honestly now, they both have hellish teens on their hands and I have a kid who has already put me through so much there’s not much more she could possibly throw at me… and who seems to have come out on the other side of it happier and easier.. so frankly I’ll take the relatively easy teen over the relatively easy toddler any day!

      • It’s legendary in Expat’s family

        that his mum thought she had parenting figured out and was one of those holier-than-thou it’s-not-so-hard types. Then she had his sister.

      • As an easy kid,

        yeah, teen problems and young-adult problems are tough, and if you’re used to smooth sailing they can be that much harder to face.

          • I am kicked out

            because we don’t qualify for cash assistance, because of the retirement account.  It is disappointing, and I miss the class and the help, and the chilcare voucher expires at the end of the month.

            OTOH, since I have several thousand dollars I HAVE TO take out of my retirement account, I feel kind of rich.

            I’m going to talk to DD’s daycare about scholarships, and I’m going to start a different job search program tomorrow, a voluntary one for SNAP recipients with no childcare support.  The good thing about that one is it is just the next town over, and I could take a bus if I had to.  I probably should, because parking is an expense I don’t need, but I’m not sure that really works with dropping off DS at school and DD at daycare.

    • Heh

      I just wanted to speak up in solidarity with all ten-year-olds with hairy crotches.  I didn’t know it was unusual until I was changing for swimming with an older friend who wasn’t as far along the puberty track… adolescence is such an off-balance time.

  3. Asdf

    Happy birthday cynmill and Laura! I hope you both have a great day and a great year ahead!!

    I think I ruined my Mac laptop yesterday. I spilled water on it, I am so stupid. Keys are slowly drying out. Fingers crossed. It’s still working, but not typing well. Hope it comes back because there is definitely no $ for a replacement in the near future so I shall be stuck pecking at this iPad boo.

      • AND

        don’t keep turning it on to try it. I spilled water on the keyboard and the screen. The computer itself was okay, but the screen never really came back all the way. It was my work computer, and luckily the computer guy had an older one that someone else had turned in after getting their new one, and he was able to move the data over. PHEW. But he told me that I should not have been turning it on to try it until like a week after that happened, because that’s what can cause it to have even more problems. Oops. Who knew?

  4. happy birthdays!

    I’m working from home today because #2 was sick on the bus and my husband is in Dallas for the week.  I’m not getting credit for today so while I can get work stuff done, I’m not getting it started too quickly and I’m thinking of taking a nap.  

    Nah, I’ve got a lot to do and I should get started but I seem to be stalled out here.  

    As for the woman who claims that it’s not that hard to be a parent – she makes some good points that we shouldn’t excuse our behaviour by brushing it aside with a “parenting is hard” statement.  However, she needs to recognize her advantages – and if it’s not that hard and she’s got it all figured out then she can offer to hold a door for another mom who’s struggling.   Offering assistance goes a lot farther than judgement.  

    • that’s exactly how I feel

      and I had such a horrible time for so long that anytime I see a mom struggling I try to do or say something nice to make her feel better… I got so many dirty looks and judgemental comments (some from my friends) when Liza was little that it took a long time for me to believe I knew anything at all about parenting and so I always try to help make a screaming baby smile or offer a word or two to the mom if I can.

      i’ll never forget my first outing with Liza as a baby and I had to change her in a mall bathroom and I had the stroller and everything in there and an old lady was trying to get to the paper towels and I said ‘oh I’m so sorry to be in your way, here let me help” and handed her some and she said “well if you would MOVE that stroller you wouldn’t be!”  grabbed the towels, dried her hands and stomped off.  I stood there and cried.  it was so HARD  for me in those days, EVERYTHIGN was hard and this woman had made it 900 times worse… I’ve never ever forgotten how she made me feel. ever.

      • Holy crap

        It would have taken her two seconds to say “you’re doing the best you can and my hands can drip dry” instead of being an ass.  

        • Grah! Mean Macy’s lady flashback!

          When DD ran and hid at Macy’s when I was trying to buy interview suits, the store employee who brought her back was sympathetic, and this old lady customer was all “No, raising toddlers is not that hard!  I judge you!  And next time I’m calling CPS!”

      • That is awful

        One of the things I liked was when old ladies were nice and understanding and you could tell they got it and remembered what it was like. That was just nasty of her.

    • agreed

      it’s also one thing to say “parenting isn’t hard” when you have one baby. When you haven’t had a toddler who has been pushing your buttons, whining, having tantrums, etc, all day long — a day when, by the way, you’ve been up since 4 because your child randomly woke up at 4 a.m. demanding to go to McDonalds and wouldn’t stop crying and thrashing about —  and who now has promised, pinky promised,  that they won’t spill their drink,  and then dances around at the table while you say “stop dancing or you’ll spill your drink” and THEN spills their drink.

      When this woman has been in that situation, maybe she would cut a little bit of slack to other moms.

      • Preach, Lisa!

        it’s also one thing to say “parenting isn’t hard” when you have one baby.

        Sally was a PITA, but a breeze compared to having 2 kiddos (let alone a medically fragile baby).

        • Yeah

          these things always seem to come from people who don’t realize how good they have it.  

          Yes, it would be super if we could all have endless amounts of patience but that’s just not real life.   So for the onlookers, the lesson is that you hold the door, offer the paper towels, pay for the extra drink, smile and say “it gets better” to someone who’s struggling with a pack of toddlers.  


          • I bet having two at a time is harder

            But after having easy peasy Clara, I realize how difficult Lucy was (and still is). Thank goodness I didn’t have Clara first. This way, at least it’s a pleasant surprise and I know to be grateful! Now, crossing my fingers that this is just a basic temperament thing and Clara will continue to be easy as a toddler and beyond.

            BTW, family counseling for Lucy and Nathan and I next week. Looking forward to it and just wish the appointment we made weeks ago would just get here already. I so want to figure out how to improve our parenting so we can hold on to the delightful, passionate, exuberant, determined, persistent, sparkly Lucy while also channeling the strong-willed part of her into a more positive direction than just spectacular anger and temper tantrums.

            • I’ll be thinking of you

              and I hope it is helpful.. I will tell you that I tried two different counselors when Liza was younger and it wasn’t until she was 9, nearly 10 that we found our current one and started making a difference…just be prepared that at that age it’s hard for the kid to be self aware enough to express what is goign on with them… but you’re looking at it exactly the right way when you say you want to learn how to better parent this child… that was where I had to get to to make things better and once I did …boy what a difference…

              it’s a long road and a real committment and there are no quick fixes .. Liza still goes once a month and she’s nearly 13..but I wouldn’t change a second of it for the peace and harmony it finally brought our home.

            • The heavens were kind to us

              Susanna still is just an easier child, thank goodness. I feel sorry that she has to sit back while Gus takes up so much energy, so I try to make it up to her during the times we have alone while he’s in school.

              I hope the counseling really gives you help & hope!

        • But

          this is not to say that having one child is easy. Parenting is hard no matter what and we have to extend grace to families of all shapes and sizes.

          • right

            I”m just guessing, since the author has “a baby”, that there are a lot of phases of parenting that she has yet to experience — like the scene she witnesses in McDonald’s, she hasn’t had a child that age yet, so she is talking out of her @$$.


        • agreed

          If you have only one kid at least you can focus on him and adjust your life/demeanor/schedule around his needs.  That option goes out the window with two, even if one of them is an angel baby.  You can only optimize for one at a time, and let the other react.

      • who give a fuck what she thinks?

        This blogger has one new baby.  She’s standing at the starting line of a marathon.  It’s like she got a start position at the front of the crowd, heard the starting gun, and immediately decided she’s winning the race.  

        I don’t listen to the pontifications of new moms at all, especially the “I’ve got this down” type.  I’d rather hear the judgy opinions of mean nasty old ladies who have forgotten what it’s like – at least there’s a chance they know something I don’t.  The grandmother has earned her stripes; the new baby mom has no business telling other mothers how to parent.  None.  I judge her if she does.

        • PREACH

          She’s standing at the starting line of a marathon.  It’s like she got a start position at the front of the crowd, heard the starting gun, and immediately decided she’s winning the race.

        • with you on this, except

          I’m not sure all mean old ladies have earned any stripes. They could have truly sucked as a parent for all we know. And honestly, someone who behaves like that to a total stranger really couldn’t have been easy to have lived with. If that grandmother has an adult daughter, she’s probably the one with the dirty look and tight pursed lips, to boot. Just what we all need.

          But yeah, silly silly new mom.

          • they may not have

            Nor do I value the judgy comments of mean nasty old ladies.  It’s just that on my list of undesirable strangers, sanctimonious new moms who think they’re all that rank one slot below mean nasty old ladies who have forgotten what it’s like to raise children.  And I will judge them.  I feel free to judge nasty old ladies too.  I guess I’m just feeling judgy today.

            • Lol

              Ok, I hear you. I have the same ranking.

              You know who is even worse than sanctimonious new moms though? Bitchy men of a certain age (I’m looking at you, perfectly goateed 40 something VC dude at Peets, with all of your tech accoutrements all perfectly encased in matching leather covers, and you, 50 something dude who bitched at me on the airplane but when I directed you to dh, wouldn’t also bitch at another man and simply turned back around) who have actually never had to watch their own kids more than a couple of hours.

            • Heh.

              it’s easy to say from the baby side that you’ll be tolerant.

              I remember my friend dealing with her daughter one day, who was drawing quick scribbles on a piece of paper, then tearing them off, and going on to the next one, going through the pad rapidly. Mom was asking her to stop. From my point of view she was quiet and productively occupied. So she’s using paper…

              Fast forward about 5 years, and I learn how incredibly annoying and grating it is to have your child go through 100 sheets of paper in an hour, repeatedly, over and over and over again. :-) :-) :-) Even though it didn’t annoy me at all when someone else’s kid did!

              For me, it was the sense that I needed to teach her to value the paper, as well as the financial and mental annoyance of having to supply endless volumes of it.

    • Parenting is hard as fuck

      On the one hand, kids need society to hold parents accountable for treating children well.  

      OTOH, I am of the opinion that judging and shaming, and pretty much anything that can get interpreted that way, which is a lot for people who are struggling, is worse than useless.

      What society really needs to do is support parents, and kids, and teachers…yeah, I’m not holding my breath on that, either.

      • this is an interesting point

        On the one hand, kids need society to hold parents accountable for treating children well.

        The watchful judgment of strangers probably prevents a fair amount of abusive parenting, at least in public.  

        Back in the day when the village helped you raise the child, the judginess was accompanied by participation and assistance.  They weren’t just judging you, they were also keeping your kid in line; new moms didn’t have to be perfect because experienced elders would step into the gaps.  Now people are afraid to break up an altercation in the sandbox because the prevaling attitude seems to be “how dare you interfere with MY child”.  There’s little the experienced elder can do but raise an eyebrow and hope you catch a clue.  Which doesn’t exactly help.

    • That’s exactly how I feel!

      I thought her blog was very judgmental. Also, her McDonald’s metaphor didn’t work for me. A more apt one is yelling at your spouse after he has thrown a tantrum on the floor for a happy meal. :)

  5. Seemed like she got her points mixed up

    The “Parenting isn’t hard” lady, that is. Whether or not parenting is hard is irrelevant to the point that you should not abuse your kids. And yes, it’s easy to judge when you have one well behaved child but she needs to recognize that it’s not abuse every time a parent reprimands/scolds/ even yells! at their kids. Like yesterday–DS spent 90% of his day in front of the TV and I told him no more TV. Then he kept sneaking in front of it and I had to tell him repeatedly to find something else to do. Then he asked me very nicely if he could watch TV and I wanted to throttle him. No!! You may NOT watch more TV! Your brain is rotting, for the love of god, find something else to do!! If all that lady saw was DS asking nicely to watch TV and me reacting like a crazy lady, she would have made some incorrect inferences about by parenting.

  6. 6th grade trip

    My 6th grader is leaving this morning for the outdoor education trip CA 6th graders do. They will be gone all week and back Friday afternoon. This is the first time we’ve been away from him for longer than overnight! Feels strange and we will miss him like crazy, but I’m sure he will have fun. The camp is at almost 4000 feet and they are expecting rain mixed with snow today, followed by sun the rest of the week. Hopefully the trip up the mountain will be uneventful – it’s raining here right now.

    • It’s a tough week weather-wise

      but they’ll be prepared, and it looks like it will clear up tomorrow. I think these outdoor ed trips are really fabulous. And something that’s better about education today than when I was a kid.

      • Did it used

        to be a NorCal thing? I have met lots of northern Cal parents who remember their own trips back in the day (1970s and later), but at least some of the SoCal ones didn’t seem to have gone. (I was in NC so we didn’t have any such thing.)

        • my SoCal school did it back in the 80s.

          My school went to Catalina Island. I didn’t go, because my mom would not pay to send me away for a week. Camping was an alien concept to her :-(

        • I did it in 6th grade

          I was in Catholic school but we went the same week as the local public schools in my smallish NoCal home town. Back then, and this would have been about 1977 I guess, it was called Ecology Camp.

            • yeah it was fun

              And I still remember that manzanita berries are edible, as is the meat of acorns if it has been put in a basket and rinsed through in a river for about … some period of time (3 hours? 3 days?). The devil is in the details.

              It was spring though and we had perfect weather. We must have been up in the Trinity Alps north of Redding. Or maybe closer in, like in Burney. We all had cabins and there was a big dining room with kitchen and etc. Showers and full bathrooms and all that. There can’t be very many camps like that in those parts.

              Do they let the kids check in with the parents? We did not check in at all.

              • We are allowed

                to write them letters and they can write to us, but we can’t call or email them.

                This camp, which is a little over an hour from here, sounds similar to the one you went to – cabins, showers, a dining hall, etc. We had a big list of things they were supposed to bring (sleeping bags, pillows, towels, boots, winter jackets, etc – we had to buy some stuff as we didn’t have much winter gear at home), and an equivalent sized list of things they were not allowed to bring (iPods, phones, video games, candy, and of course knives, etc).

  7. Parenting isn’t hard

    Calculus isn’t hard either.

    By the way, I’ve been a ‘rocket scientist’ and I’ve been a parent. Being a rocket scientist was way easier. I was allowed to sleep nights AND go to the bathroom. Even when I was working killer 12 hour shifts.

    This was a wonderful comment:

    Because that is my only problem with this article. There is no excuse for abuse towards a child. We all have bad days and fall far from our highest aspirations as mothers. These are certain truths. But where are your encouraging words? Where is your loving support towards mothers who are having a hard time. Tips for moms at the end of their rope? Links to sure fire stress busters? In short, if this nastly little problem has you so concerned: where are your solutions?

    Because my dear…..if you cannot offer this kind of patient, loving, unconditional support towards the moms whom you’ve judged (and rather harshly)…..I am having a really hard time believing it is offered to your children All.The.Time. I’m finding it difficult to believe you are an Unending Fountain of Patience. If you cannot summon an ounce of sympathy, compassion or empathy for a mom who has made a mistake – or countless ones; I have to wonder how your children are treated when they make the same mistakes. over and over and over.

    Or do you only practice this super parenting inside your home? The rest of us, struggling outside your doors…..well, we just don’t deserve the same tokens of grace? Please, I think your article has some great and valid points, but don’t leave it like this. Don’t leave someone out there feeling like hell because they read this and the conviction is about to pull them apart. Give them something more. Something positive.

    Don’t just be a spotlight on an issue: fill the room with light!

    • I also liked this one

      That’s true, maybe if the scene at McDonald’s was between two adults it WOULD cause some eye rolls. BUT….what if it was a scene between two adults? And what if the woman screamed and cried and lied down on the floor because she wanted that medium drink? What if the woman didn’t do a single thing for herself even though she was completely capable? What if she spokely cruelly to the man she was with for the forty minutes leading up to the event. What if she yelled ‘I don’t love you!’ just because the man said that two napkins were enough.

      I too enjoy all the indications that my daughter has used over the years of my lack of love for her.

      Heaven help me when she comes across and understands the xkcd joke, “sudo make me a sandwich.”

    • I think your rocket scientist comparison

      should go viral.

      Now if I can just get DH to talk a brain surgeon or two into helping out as well…

  8. Oh Em Geee

    That article was the most judgy-mcjudgerston article I’ve read in a long while. First off, it is just total bulls$%& to say “Parenting isn’t hard….Oh, wait, it’s just so HARD to contain my love for my darling little angel….it’s HARD to believe that one day my precious little snowflake will one day be a kindergarten snowflake, and then a teenage snowflake, and then a 25-year-old-still-living-at-home-but-I-won’t-ever-insist-he-get-a-job little snowflake…..but the day to day practice of parenting is just EASY PEASY.”

    I say that as a mom of a pretty easy baby: BULLS$%&. The hard-to-contain love and all that (if you are lucky enough to feel that way daily/weekly/EVER) is what makes the day-to-day stuff worth it. But the day-to-day stuff is HARD. Because life is hard. And relationships are often hard.

    I would have so much rather she said, “Parenting is HARD, and it demands the best of us, not resorting to anger or abusive practices.” I might have still disagreed with a lot of what she’d said, but at least I would have believed her. I mean, I’m only 9 months in and I know she’s just asking to get a screaming toddler-through-teenager. And how many days of 2-3 hours of sleep followed by screaming tantrums will it take until she’s ready to sell her kid to the first person who promises to let her get 6 hours of uninterrupted, blissful, worry-free sleep?

    Look, I pretty much won the baby lottery all around, and there are still days when I think, “Maybe I will just pick her up from daycare at the end of the week instead of the end of the day.” Today is one of those days, in fact. Of course, we will get her, and of course, we will love her and croon gently to her tonight at bedtime. But we aren’t going to pretend it’s easy, or that on the inside, we aren’t thinking, “Dear God, just go to sleep already!!!”

    Uhhh, looks like my Judgy-McJudgerston rant got mixed up with my own exhaustion/frustration with my perfect little snowflake. Huh. Imagine that.

  9. I’m probably in the minority here

    Or maybe I’m the minority, I don’t know.  I think the whole parenting isn’t hard line smacks of someone who only has one child or hasn’t been tested yet.  So on that line alone, I agree that she has a lot to learn.

    OTOH, her McDonald’s example could be read two ways.  It could be a mom at the end of her rope or it could be abuse.  I think the limitations of the written word make it difficult to grasp what she is trying to convey.  I’ve been in situations in public where the mom at the end of the rope has come across as someone who really looks abusive.  The belittling in the McDonalds anecdote troubled me a lot.  I may be sensitive to this because I work with children who are not well socialized and have seen the fruits of this first hand.  In fact, I have witnessed kids in my program who were belittled in public by their parents in a really nasty way.  They were not my students at the time and I wasn’t teaching there but when I started at the school I realized I knew them from the situation where their parents were just awful.  And now they are angry little kids.

    I don’t know what the blog entry should be titled.  “Parenting isn’t that hard” is obviously wrong.  I would also venture to guess that “Not abusing your kids is not that hard” is also not that helpful if you are someone who has only known abuse.

  10. shaking my head and snickering a bit

    Ok, so the article by Ms. Thang. I agree with minnmom and music teacher that it’s a bit of a mess just on it’s own, as a piece of writing. She was describing unacceptable behavior – for all the reasons music teacher so eloquently described. But then she got muddled when she made the leap to “parenting is not hard”. Awww, maybe being post partum (she says she has a “new baby”) has dulled her writing and critical thinking skills more than she realizes. Snorkety snork.

    But the thing that really has me laughing is her being in McDonald’s. In fact, the allusion to McDonald’s is what sent me over to the article. Because I happen to have known a hard core Waldorfian (and have been acquainted with a bunch more through her), I know there are parents who would judge her – mercilessly – for being in McDonald’s and I assume, being willing to feed her kid McDonald’s at some point in the future. Hey, no excuses. McDonald’s is not acceptable for any reason. Don’t you care about your child’s health? It takes discipline to set an example about proper eating habits, and it’s your job, end of discussion. There are NO EXCUSES.

    My point being is that she is so full of self righteousness that I don’t think it’s occurred to her that she could be treated like that by some other parent with a different set of beliefs. Parents who hold a grain of truth (belittling your kid is bad, McDonald’s ain’t no prize health wise), but who are rigid, judgmental, self-righteous, black and white thinkers. I think unfortunately someday she’ll find out.  

    The whole thing is ugh.

    • True dat!!

      Especially a homesteader who lives in a log cabin (as her bio states). What was she doing in McDonalds? Clearly, the whole thing is made up. Unless she was just there to use the bathroom, in which case I am reminded that the one time I spanked Lucy was in a McDonalds bathroom. Not my best parenting moment. I wrote a diary about it shortly afterwards and y’all were really nice and not judgemental. But during the incident, while I was waiting for my crying kid to finish in the bathroom, another mom said to me, kindly, “bad day, eh?” I will never forget that she could have given me the evil eye or said something rude, but she offered support.

      • yes but

        if she saw the McDonald’s mockery coming she would have said right away she was only there to use the bathroom :). Log cabin homesteader, riiiiight.

        Come to think of it the comedian CK Louis has a bit where he talks about being at a McDonald’s and seeing an exhausted mother surrounded by toppled grocery bags telling her kid to shut up and eat the fries. Apparently a lot of frustrating moments happen in McDonald’s?? I’m glad the other mom was nice about it.

        • well

          Many of us use McDonalds as the hail mary pass of parenting: “I got nothing left, so lets see if this works; at the very least it might buy me some downtime.”  So if you saw me in a McDs I probably wasn’t at my best.  And even organic whole grain earthmoms recognize that the occasional happy meal doesn’t have acute toxicity issues, so I don’t think I’d feel any surprise if I ran into one there.  

          • because

            sometimes a milkshake, especially when it’s 110 out, really is the solution. I have my go to frozen yogurt place for this, I don’t care if it’s 4:45 and dinner is in 45 minutes. (I’ve been ordering their scary strong coffee even though I am clearly preggers …. ah a whole other angle for casting aspersions. I had two friends recently ding me on that! Good think I gave up the crack).

            And even organic whole grain earthmoms recognize that the occasional happy meal doesn’t have acute toxicity issues

            This kind of logic was really lost on this crowd of Waldorfians (with all due respect to Waldorf schools … Waldorfians is my made up word for this particularly cultish place). They were really quite something. Luckily I have zero contact with them now.

            • no, really!?!

              Srsly, the coffee thing? My god. I don’t want to think about how I would’ve survived Lily’s pregnancy without coffee. You know I know what it’s like to have to run after a super-active older child while pregnant!

              Send your friends to me for a little session with the sack-o-doorknobs-o-reality.

              • So my best friend

                is a microbiologist/biochemist who does reproductive-system research (she’s worked on ovarian cancer, birth control, all sorts of things). So I’ll tell you right now what she told me when I first mentioned trying to cut back. “Beth, you need to drink at least eight cups of coffee every single day before it has any effect at all. So stop worrying.

                I intend to record her saying that next time I have a chance, and play it at people who give me s—.

                  • She’s right though

                    you have to drink a pot a day to have any effect but everyone freaks out like one latte will make the baby be born with an extra head.  

                    • Which is, of course, ridiculous

                      for one thing, even the most conservative advice I’ve seen is that up to a 16- or 20-oz full-strength coffee is well within safe limits.

                      For a more important thing, what Rachel said. You do what you gotta do. Allowing the toddler to run amok has far more potential for disaster than an extra cup of coffee.

                    • psst

                      I rarely give “parenting” advice, but sometimes I, and other mothers I know, do things that just make us happy – like our coffee or wine, or who the hell knows, put the kid in front of a movie so you can talk to your BFF for two hours straight – with absolutely no redeeming value or benefit to the kids. And you can, too. Like I said, “transgressive me.”

                      Pass it on.


                    • I think I’ve done all that at the same time

                      I think I’ve actually put on a movie to have a coffee and a converstion that became a glass of wine. I’m efficient in my transgressions! 😉

                    • my OB says

                      the most important part is to get through pregnancy and to having the baby as mentally healthy as possible, so if that’s what you need, then so be it.  She was talking antidepressants, but surely that holds for caffeine too.

                    • What is the problem with too much caffeine?

                      My midwife said a cup or two of coffee a day was fine, and with #2, I took that to mean I could have my normal huge mug in the morning and then maybe 1-2 extra lattes a week. The main problem with caffeine is that it causes low birth weight, from what I found. Hmmm…and this is a problem how? I didn’t plan a medicated childbirth, so I was all for a lower birth weight baby! That would be much nicer for my vaginaaaaaahhh, I figured. And, wouldn’t you know, no caffeine DD1 was nearly a pound lighter than caffed up DD2.

                    • well a couple of things

                      Too much caffeine puts you at risk for miscarriage, low birth weight, and early labor.

                      I’m not a fan of any of those. I would be horrified if my caffeine consumption was such that my baby didn’t actually grow at the same rate as without the caffeine. But that’s the thing …. that’s not what two cups a day would actually do. (Actually, 200 mg, but who’s counting). Somehow we’ve gone from don’t drink caffeine over X amount, don’t drink a pot a day, to don’t drink coffee at all, ever. I’m over it.

                      I drank a cup a day with ds1 in my second and third trimesters and he came in just under 9 pounds. I had (very well controlled) gestational diabetes so who knows how this all works together. It’s not worth obsessing over, is my current feeling.

                    • My smallest was 7 pounds

                      and I didn’t drink coffee before she was born.  She’s the cause of my coffee addiction and her brothers were 8 and 9 pounds.   Pfft, says I.  

              • Yes seriously!

                I couldn’t believe it either. One was one of my oldest friends, one of my BFF, so when she expressed surprise that I was still drinking coffee, I made a joke and said, “transgressive me!”. Instead of LAUGHING, she just said, “yeah.” Of all of the truly transgressive topics we talk about, it’s the coffee??? Wtf?

                My other friend is a nurse midwife and lactation specialist. She dings me for the coffee but then, maybe because she felt bad about dinging me, says that in her third trimester with her kids, she would sometimes indulge in a glass or two of wine. So wait ….

                It’s a crazy world. Darn straight you needed coffee to run after Jess. Or maybe just because you love it. It’s not a crime, peeps!

            • what is the deal with the Waldorfians?

              They are some kind of wacky cult.  I’ve been told that our local Waldorf school is almost 50% unvaccinated.  Apparently painting only in yellow stunts the development of critical reasoning skills.  

              • same

                This particular school was about the same per the vaccinations. Then my former link to this school freaked when I believe 3 infants died in her (nearby) county from the spike in whooping cough two years ago. Right. But let’s not go there.

                We interviewed there and spent three hours observing. Needless to say, it was not for us. Some things were attractive, but other things seem very much based on the idiosyncratic beliefs of the founder, Rudolph Steiner. I really object to educational programs that aren’t research based in some way.

                It was the culture of the particular place that did it in for us: a lot of conformity (one part of the philosophy is “we, not I” which can be lovely, but not when that translates into kids doing exactly the same thing at the same time), rigidity (about food, about media, about how kids are supposed to behave, because it’s an ideology, not based on current knowledge of child development), and the kids seemed kind of listless, just hanging around for the most part. And the judginess, it burned.

                Dangerous territory here. Not interested in an argument about Waldorf! And I think it’s a bit like Montessori, where individual places can be very different from each other.

              • Our Waldorf

                is apparently extra crazy.  I have a friend who checked it out, and they adhere so strictly to the original philosophy that they seem to have forgotten that there are children who aren’t white.  She asked if they tell only Northern European stories, because while she is Northern European her kids are half Ecuadorian, and the teacher said that they absolutely only tell the Northern European stories because that’s the Waldorf way.  Since there is a reason for everything they have and everything they do, my friend asked why all the walls were peach.  She was told that it was the most soothing color because it’s the color of human flesh.  Freaking nuts, although I’ve heard that others have introduced some sanity to at least those particular quirks.  

        • When my daughter was a toddler

          McDonald’s had the only indoor park-like activity in the vicinity. That or take the kid to Wal-Mart. Tiny house with limited climate control, and weeks on end of rain? You bet a lot of moms went there. Heck, the social workers apparently took kids there.

          That said, for some reason I managed to resist, and we’ve never been inside.

    • The slippery slope of judgement

      This reminds me of how my widowed friend in AZ, who was super into healthy, natural, organic, free-trade food, took her kid to the donut shop down the street from his school for a first-day treat and immediately got labled “the donut mom,” and lectured about nutrition.

          • Here you are:

            The whole thing is hilarious, especially with Paula Poundstone and her Ring Dings.


            SAGAL: Hold on. I actually wanted to ask you that. You’ve become this hero of the whole foods, local foods, real foods movement. Is that a burden to you? I mean, if you ever want to eat a cheeseburger, do you have to go hide somewhere?

            Mr. POLLAN: Well, I did – shortly after I got to Berkeley, I was in Berkeley Bowl, and there are a lot of…

            (Soundbite of applause)

            SAGAL: Berkeley Bowl, just for people who aren’t…

            Ms. POUNDSTONE: What is it?

            SAGAL: …blessed enough to live here…

            Mr. POLLAN: It’s a local supermarket, which has wonderful fresh produce, grass-fed beef – it’s your idea of hell, I think. And my son, when he was young, really liked Fruity Pebbles.

            Ms. POUNDSTONE: I’ll bet he did.

            Mr. ROCCA: I love those.

            Mr. POLLAN: And that was his Saturday, you know, breakfast. I was actually reaching for a box of Fruity Pebbles, and somebody tapped on my shoulder. And it was this tall, bearded graduate student and he said – and I’m like this – he said, I’m watching Michael Pollan shop for groceries.

            (Soundbite of laughter)

            Mr. POLLAN: And I didn’t go in that store again for many, many months. Another rule is, don’t eat any food that won’t eventually rot. I had a Twinkie for two years. I owned a Twinkie that I…

            Ms. POUNDSTONE: Oh, you did not.

            Mr. ROCCA: Really?

            Mr. POLLAN: I did. I have it. I didn’t bring it with me. I have it on my shelf in my office. And I would give it a squeeze every couple of weeks to see how it was doing.

            Ms. POUNDSTONE: Aww.

            Mr. ROCCA: Like Mr. Whipple.

            Mr. POLLAN: And…

            Ms. POUNDSTONE: That’s not good for them.

            • Funny

              Totally believable too. That guy probably brings down the house at dinner parties telling the story of how he saw Michael Pollan buying Fruity Pebbles.

              In college my DH’s roommate was doing a several months long experiment with a pink snowball left on the mantel and some guy ate it at a party not realizing it was so old. He lived to tell the tale.

    • McDonalds as a sine qua non for bad parenting

      you know what? We take the kids to McDonalds. As frequently as once every few weeks at times. Sometimes for happy meals, sometimes just for an ice cream.

      Know why? Because I want the girls to know how and when it is appropriate to eat fast food. It’s not verbotin. It’s part of our world. I don’t want them getting into college or moving out on their own and going completely axe-crazy eating all the things we prohibited them from eating.

      And it works. The kids don’t really clamor for it. Jess has allowed as how the McNuggets give her indigestion. I’ve never seen them completely finish a meal. We drive by McDonalds without having temper tantrums about wanting a happy meal.

      So I dare any Judgey McWaldorfian to have at me. C’mon, have at me!!

      • We eat other fast food

        and I’ve been in other McDonald’s with my daughter, but somehow the go-there-to-play-because-we-can’t-stand-being-in-our-house-any-longer just felt icky.

        • hey, who’s judging your ick?

          We have great parks in Melbourne, so we don’t have to do this. But when we lived in North London, the access to parks wasn’t so great. Winter sucks there, too. I could totally see us going to a McD for the playground under those circumstances.

          We all got our particular icks, right?

          • Yup.

            When we were in France, we went to a McDonald’s equivalent (Quick Burger!) that had a giant indoor playground. We went FOUR TIMES. Because it was 3 degrees and raining outside and fortheloveofgod they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

            Plus, the burgers weren’t bad. Not great, but not as terrible as McDonald’s. And they had praline sundaes for momma. And free wifi for daddy. Everyone’s happy.

            In Perth? It wouldn’t occur to us to do the same thing.

      • Judgey McWaldorfian

        LOL. Oh you and the McWaldorfians – that I would love to see.

        I think these stories are cracking me up because I am surrounded by this kind of crazy shite!!!!!!! One mom I know goes to Whole Foods for party food, because she doesn’t want the other moms to judge what food she is serving or buying her own kids! This is a smart normal funny talented woman! And she’s not wrong, that’s the thing. And that’s just one story I could tell.

        • that’s funny as hell

          Making a special run to Whole Foods. You know, I’d probably do that, under the circumstances of not wanting to make waves. We have a really crunchy-granola vibe around Jess’s school.

          • Yup.

            You don’t want to be the mom that brings Ho-Ho’s. Better to bring paper plates.

            But I have been known to buy a banana cake from the bakery. I’m over the baking for class parties thing. While our school is crunchy granola, it’s also full of working parents, which mellows it out quite a lot. The really extreme parents of the crunchy sort actually get made fun of more than the other end, I think. Along the lines of “What that woman needs is something to occupy her time!”. Not nice. But funny if you’re feeling inadequate.

        • I wonder whether

          they will relax as the kids age? I don’t think parents of older kids are as hyped up about junk food.

      • We had McD’s tonight

        Because we were in a hurry to get two kids to swimming lessons and it was my freaking birthday. Don’t judge me…I’m old & incredibly crabby.

    • Bummer

      Resistant even to that antifungal pill?

      I love that pill. One of my friends said she was going to bow down before it and worship it.

      • I’m doing a double dose of diflucan

        but if that doesn’t kick it by the weekend, I’m getting some other napalm-like drug.  

        I won’t get into details, but my doc was seriously freaked.  She kept saying things like “are you sure you haven’t been on antibiotics?”

        • Not to get

          too overly detailed, but the ones I’ve gotten in the past few years are more … external for some reason and hard to cure without diflucan.

          • I’ve always done Diflucan-

            I’m allergic to Monistat and the like.  This was after a dose of Diflucan.  So now I get two more- and a trip to Philly to speak at a conference over the weekend.

            This was weird ’cause I didn’t have most of the symptoms.  Just…ouch.  BIG ouch.  

            She actually called other people over to look at the slide- I heard her out in the hall- because she’d never seen so much yeast on one slide before.  She came back in and said, “Hey, did you know it’s practically snowing in there?”

            She’s a card, that doctor of mine…I was sort of giggly too ’cause all I could think was “It’s snowing in my VAGINAAAAAAH.”

  11. i get what that “parenting isn’t hard” lady meant

    she’s just not good at sarcasm, and she’s not clever.  shes not a very good writer.

    she’s right though- some people are mean to kids, and it’s only because the kids are too small to be a threat..

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