I am not a better mother than you!

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I did six radio interviews yesterday to promote my new book, PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting.

Most of them were for drive time radio so it was very important that I condense my message to as short a time as possible. I had my spiel prepared:

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]There’s no “right way” to raise a child just like there is no “right way” to have sex. It depends completely on the two people involved.[/pullquote]

  1. Natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting aren’t based on science.
  2. All three are promoted by industries that want to sell you goods and services.
  3. All three are profoundly anti-feminist because they aim to force women back into the home.

But as I gave the interviews, I found that I could condense my message into one sentence:

I had four vaginal births, two with epidurals and two without, breastfed all four and enjoyed it, and practiced attachment parenting … BUT that doesn’t make me a better mother than you!

Why can my message be shortened so drastically?

Because at its heart that’s what the “mommy wars” are about: who is entitled to bragging rights?

It’s not about parenting, and it’s certainly not about babies and what is good for them. There’s no simple answer to what’s good for each family or even what’s good for each baby within a particular family. That’s because each baby is a person with his or her own distinct personality and individual needs. There’s no “right way” to raise a child just like there is no “right way” to have sex. It depends completely on the two people involved.

How did I figure that out? It wasn’t rocket science even though it stems in part from my ability to read the scientific literature.

I figured it out because one of my dearest friends is an adoptive mother and she loves her children every bit as fiercely as I love mine … and I love mine pretty fiercely.

I figured it out because another close friend didn’t breastfeed her children and it hasn’t made one bit of difference. Both are spectacularly accomplished adults.

I figured it out because I’ve spent nearly 30 years as a mother and even more years as a doctor and I learned that individual parenting methods and philosophies might differ but one factor seemed most important regardless of culture, ethnicity or natural origin: all children thrive on parental love. The details of childbirth, infant feeding and parenting during the toddler years don’t seem to matter much at all.

Yes, my reading of the scientific literature confirms that natural childbirth, breastfeeding and attachment parenting don’t produce more successful children or even children who are more attached. Yes, my investigations into the origins of these movements reveal that they were started by people who wanted to force women back into the home. Yes, these movements are profoundly anti-feminist, always recommending more suffering and more work for mothers, and not much of anything for fathers. But that’s not how I figured out that I’m not a better mother than you.

On Monday I did a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) and ultimately got nearly 2000 questions and comments. One question appeared over and over again: what method do you recommend for raising children? I answered the question over and over again: There is no method that is right for every family or even every child within the same family. There is no recipe for raising a successful child.

I realize that for some that is a deeply unsatisfying answer. They want a foolproof recipe not merely because they are anxious to raise successful children, though that is deeply motivating. They want a recipe so that can be sure they are doing it right, and in the case of many mothers, they want a recipe so they can be sure that they are better mothers than all the rest.

That’s not how it works. As a freshman in college I took a course from the sociologist and future Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He said something that has stayed with me ever since: “There is no theory of human causation.” By that he meant that there is no theory that can reliably tell us that specific inputs can create specific outputs in an individual or even in a group. What might motivate one person to do A could motivate another person to do B. We can make some educated guesses, but even educated guesses are often wide of the mark. That’s why the very idea that natural childbirth, breastfeeding and attachment parenting create better, more accomplished, more successful children and adults is ludicrous on its face.

I had natural childbirth with half of my children, and I don’t see a discernible difference between those two groups of two.

I breastfed all four children and I don’t see a discernible difference between them and their college classmates, friends and fellow professionals.

I practiced attachment parenting and when presented with a classroom of children I can’t distinguish those raised with attachment parenting and those raised without.

I did those things because they worked for me and for my family. That doesn’t make me a better mother than you.

“We’re both doing our best even when we do things differently” is not a sexy slogan. It doesn’t get hearts pumping and emotions engaged like “I’m a better mother than you.” But unlike the natural parenting industry, I’m not trying to sell goods and services. And unlike the Sanctimommies I’m not trying to boost my self esteem.

My goal is to offer comfort to women who are struggling to meet demands that ignore their own needs and don’t even reliably meet the needs of their babies.

I did all the things that are supposed to make you a superior mother and it doesn’t make me a better mother than you.

You don’t need to feel guilty about childbirth choices, infant feeding choices or parenting philosophy.

That’s not to say that you aren’t going to end up feeling guilty, but it shouldn’t be about those things.

What should you feel guilty about?

As the mother of four former teenagers, I can assure you that in the years ahead your children will endlessly complain about your many faults and parenting mistakes. Save your strength for those battles and enjoy your babies now.

282 Responses to “I am not a better mother than you!”

  1. ladyloki
    April 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    My daughters are now tweens and I am not looking forward to the teen years. I cheated because I adopted them at elementary school age so at least I missed the every 2 hour feedings, potty training and colic. But I was actually a decent teen myself – whined a lot but preferred schoolwork to boys and never went out or drank or did drugs, so maybe the gods will let me catch a bit of a break. I offer chocolate as a sacrifice.

  2. Bombshellrisa
    April 7, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    I want to save my energy, I really do, but the tantrums and car seat planking is starting to wear on me!
    I love that you speak as a mom looking at motherhood from the other side.

  3. cookiebaker
    April 7, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    The babies are physically demanding and the teens are emotionally demanding. At the moment mine are: 15, 14, 10, 5, 22 months and 9 months.

    I need a nap.

    • Charybdis
      April 7, 2016 at 9:30 am #

      Honey, you need a vacation and a stiff drink.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        April 7, 2016 at 10:55 am #

        I’d say an unlimited supply of stiff drinks!

    • Linden
      April 7, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

      Good grief, we’re just about managing with one 21-month old.
      I tip my hat to you.

  4. The Bofa on the Sofa
    April 7, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Dr Amy may not be a better mother than you, but she is a better mother than me. However, I can truthfully say that I am a better father than most of you.

    So there!

    • Charybdis
      April 7, 2016 at 8:56 am #

      :P, :P, 😛

    • cookiebaker
      April 7, 2016 at 9:28 am #

      I will concede that point. 😀

    • demodocus
      April 7, 2016 at 9:50 am #

      I dunno, the joke in this house is that I’m the father and he’s the mother. ;p (Outside a few biological elements)

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        April 7, 2016 at 9:59 am #

        I said “most”

      • demodocus
        April 7, 2016 at 10:09 am #

        though, in truth, i’m convinced i’m a terrible parent. the depression might have something to do with that.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 7, 2016 at 10:58 am #

          I’m sure you’re aware of this, but on the very off-hand chance you aren’t, and because I’d have loved someone to mention this when I was depressed with my first pregnancy–are you talking to your OB about the depression? I understand that several antidepressants are now okay to take during pregnancy; you might not have to feel rotten.
          (Apologies if this is too personal a question/comment; feel free to ignore!)

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

            Yes, and he’s prescribed zoloft for me last week; haven’t filled it yet. Our insurance just changed and i need to see if i can go to my old pharmacy still or if i have to go to another one now. And motivation is complicated.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

            Ugh. I really, really hate insurance issues. Sorry you have to deal with them on top of the depression, and hope things get sorted soon!

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

            At least my ob (and indeed their entire department) moved with the patients. My own therapist didn’t, so i need a new one.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

            (Upvoted for OB moving with you, not for losing a therapist, which must be annoying at best and *extremely* frustrating/worrying at worst.)

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

            Eh, only annoying; I hadn’t seen her all that long. At least Dem’s therapist (who he’s been seeing for 2 years now) has moved with us.
            OB is the one who sent me straight from his office to the shrinks’ downstairs when i saw him around New Year’s.

          • Who?
            April 7, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

            Glad you still have the thoughtful OB, sorry about motivation issues and practical insurance problems re Zoloft.

            Take care of yourself.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

            I like your OB! Sounds like a keeper, and I’m glad your insurance cooperated to that extent!

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

            Do I really need to go find a cheerleading outfit and pom poms? It’s scare the children, but I’ll do it if I have to!

          • demodocus
            April 8, 2016 at 8:31 am #


          • Wombat
            April 10, 2016 at 6:25 am #

            I soooo get the motivation issues (finishing up week two of side-effect hell/viibryd atm!) but Zoloft ought to be fairly cheap generic if you just want to tell the insurance to shove it and go to the nearest drive-thru pharmacy.

            Especially if you use a generic discount card (GoodRX has an app/mobile friendly website).

            Just a heads up if it helps to tell motivation to shove it too c:

            Though you may also have my glorious deductible/oop maximum and not want to miss a penny on it either, in which case I feel ya there as well :c

          • demodocus
            April 10, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

            I probably can get the generic and my doc just refers to it by the best known name; he did with one of my get-pregnant-in-the-first-place meds.

          • Wombat
            April 11, 2016 at 3:49 am #

            They usually do, if you’re in the US most (but not all) states require the RX to be marked/signed/something otherwise if you have it handy.

            I just meant as a cost/ease thing, mostly, though. Rather than have to call the insurance, fight their stupid answering robot, and wait on hold just go see what it would be to fill it without insurance (if that appeals) because it shouldn’t be too much. Would let you get started and then fight the insurance next time if you feel more up to it c:

          • demodocus
            April 11, 2016 at 9:56 am #

            Doc works for the insurance directly, or did until a few days ago (insurance is getting out of providing care directly)

          • Charybdis
            April 8, 2016 at 9:33 am #

            I’ll help! I’ve got my old uniform in a box somewhere….

            New pom poms will be necessary, though.

    • BeatriceC
      April 7, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

      I was a single mom for a long time (about 10 years). I get to be both mom and dad. MrC has varying amounts of success in the step-dad role, but he also had to play both mom and dad after his wife passed away when their girls were 13.

      We’ve decided out of the two of us (me and MrC), I’m the better mother and he’s the better father, but we both do a respectable job with the other role.

  5. The Computer Ate My Nym
    April 7, 2016 at 5:09 am #

    I don’t have a teen yet, though I will in (eep!) less than 2 weeks. So far, I’d say the hardest stage is…the first 3-4 months of pregnancy. Newborns, toddlers, tweeens, so far it’s all been easy compared to the constant nausea and deathly fatigue of early pregnancy.

    • Megan
      April 7, 2016 at 8:14 am #

      For me its third trimester. The swelling, fatigue, aches and pains, insomnia. Ugh. Glad that’s over (unless we decide to have a third!). Then again I have not experienced a teen yet either, or even the terrible 2’s/3’s (though personally, from seeing pediatric patients, I actually like age 2). Fun times yet to come!

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 7, 2016 at 9:05 am #

        Third trimester wasn’t much fun either. The thing about having a baby or kid, as opposed to being pregnant, is that, no matter how awful they’re being, you can nearly always hand them off to someone else for a while. There’s simply no way to get someone else to do the pregnancy for you for a bit.

      • Linden
        April 7, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

        I think the thing that annoyed me most was the dismissiveness of my GP office to the pain I got in the third trimester. I had excruciating pelvic pain, of the can’t even lie still in bed type. I didn’t even get to see a GP, just a midwife. I was told: “do these exercises, wear this girdle, come back in 6 weeks if it doesn’t get better.” Me: “you’re joking, no way I can take this for 6 weeks.”
        I went to a physiotherapist I had been seeing before. Turns out it was a piriformis injury due to running. I iced. I slept with an ice pack in my pants D: but the difference was immediate.

  6. anh
    April 7, 2016 at 4:08 am #

    This morning I ruined my three year old’s world by refusing to let her wear the dirty skirt she wore two days ago. She said, I quote, “leave me alone! leave me alone! I don’t understand why you won’t LEAVE ME ALONE”.

    It must be because she was combo-fed.

    • J.B.
      April 7, 2016 at 10:05 am #

      Mine says “go away daddy” a lot, even though he’s the one who gets down on the floor to play more. Plus “no kiss me” – which I still do sometimes and she throws back at me. I guess if I were into AP instead of only do what works for me she would still be snuggly and cooperative :), instead of having her own very firm ideas about the world?!?! It’s pretty awesome to see the wheels turn though.

  7. C.
    April 6, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    ‘“We’re both doing our best even when we do things differently” is not a sexy slogan. It doesn’t get hearts pumping and emotions engaged like “I’m a better mother than you.”’

    I disagree, as soon as I read those words I got super emotional. As an adoptee who is now raising a biological child of my own, I’m learning some things about the guilt my mother felt over not being able to do certain things the “right” way, and I just want to tell her that all that matters to me is that she loved me. I don’t remember the colic that probably wouldn’t have been miraculously cured by breastmilk, but I do remember the silly games she made up to play with me, the warm lap that comforted me when I was sad, the healing kisses applied to scrapes and bruises, and as an adult, how she came to the hospital to be there for me when I needed surgery. Those are the kind of memories I look forward to making with my own daughter, how I’m feeding her probably isn’t one of the things I’ll look back on wistfully as she grows up. I mean, I suppose I’m lucky in that I actually do find breastfeeding “easy and convenient” but I also kind of look forward to being able to use my boobs strictly when and how I choose again.


    • Megan
      April 7, 2016 at 8:20 am #

      As another fellow adoptee, I had a similar realization upon having my own biological children. Much as I don’t always get along with my mom, I also have a new appreciation for the silly songs she made up (and does now with her granddaughters) for me. I now do lye of singing with my daughters and try to have fun with them even if the house is a mess. Those are the important memories of childhood. How they’re fed makes little difference. They’ll care much more that I read to them all the time or that we dance just for fun.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        April 7, 2016 at 8:54 am #

        I loved reading this this morning! I’m not really feeling the mom thing or the morning thing this second, and DD just woke up, so I need to go change her, get her dressed, and go on our walk. It’s nice to know that singing her favorite made-up song (“My name is little *kid’s name* and I’m so cute” sung to “I’m a little teapot”…don’t judge me, I think I made it up at 3 AM sometime…) is what she’ll remember, rather than mommy staggering around and begging the coffee gods for an infusion of brain cells ASAP.

        • Megan
          April 7, 2016 at 9:07 am #

          That’s ok. I made up an entire sing whose lyrics are simply “good morning miss ‘kids name'” repeated over and over. DD loves it and DH now harmonizes with me (We are shameless choir geeks; that’s how we met). It doesn’t have to be elaborate to be fun and/or memorable!

          • Dr Kitty
            April 7, 2016 at 9:36 am #

            “Your name is *kid’s name*, *kid’s name*,*kid’s name*
            Everyone loves you,
            Your mummy loves you
            Your daddy loves you

            Your name is *kid’s name*, *kid’s name*,*kid’s name*
            Your granny loves you
            Your aunties love you

            Your name is *kid’s name*, *kid’s name*,*kid’s name*
            Your uncles love you
            Your cousins love you

            Sung to the tune of “Flipper the Dolphin”.

            No, I am not musical.

          • guest
            April 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

            My name is “kid’s name”
            I am a baby
            I’m always happy
            unless I’m crying
            But my parent’s
            they still love me
            please don’t take my parent’s away.
            Sung to the tune of “You are my sunshine”
            I made this up for my super cranky newborn with reflux who has grown into a super emotional toddler. She usually flips out if I sing it now (maybe she realizes I only sing it when I’m reaching the end of my rope). 🙂
            I always comment that I never realized how much singing was involved in parenthood.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

            I’ve found that singing will help her avoid some of the worst/most annoying meltdowns. I’ll take singing idiotic songs to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot” over full-blown screaming (on her part) wrestling matches over “yes, you do need a diaper change, and no, pants aren’t optional if you’re leaving the house” any day of the week!

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 7, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

            You just described my morning. We were going to see trains with grandpa and it was warm today. Two year old doesn’t have shorts yet because I am lazy. Someone gave him Oshkosh striped overall shorts last year and now they are perfect. So I ended up singing a bunch of nonsense to get him to agree to put them on. It worked. I ended up singing to him while I changed his diaper in the trunk of the car and while we waited for lunch. I don’t have a good voice, but it kept him entertained

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

            I swore I was living in some wacked out musical (with occasional operatic moments) when my kids were toddlers and preschoolers. They often responded better if I phrased things in the form of a song instead of a regular speaking voice.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

            The striped overall shorts sound adorable!!! And kids seriously don’t care how good a voice you have or don’t have. I’m a classically-trained singer (like, I majored in it…not necessarily a wise life choice, but that’s another story) and when I first had DD, I actually found myself stressing about appropriate vowel shapes and voice production when singing to her at 2 AM. That went out the window pretty quickly, and I can assure you she never noticed the difference. 😉 I wouldn’t care to hear a recording of myself singing to her now, but hey–it makes her happy, and that’s the goal!

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 7, 2016 at 10:56 pm #

            He was pretty adorable toddling around. We took him to “day out with Thomas” at this same place last July and he had a railroad stripe onesie that was so precious.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 11:05 pm #

            Dawwwwwwwww! So cute!

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 7, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

            This is a better pic, he wanted to go in this train car so much.

          • demodocus
            April 8, 2016 at 8:40 am #

            Normally, yes. My kid has been known to cry if we sing very badly in choir. Apparently, trying work on your enunciation by singing like Julia Child is just WRONG!!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 8, 2016 at 8:45 am #

            Now, now, it does do wonderful things for proper mask resonance…but I’m with Demo, Jr. 😉
            My BFF’s kid apparently has pretty sensitive ears. He doesn’t mean at all to be rude, but has, when visiting churches with less-than-stellar (*ahem*) choirs, been known to cover his ears when they start singing and yell “please stop! Please, STOP!”, necessitating mom or dad removing him with a bit of a lecture on “yes, I know they don’t sound very good, but you still can’t say that.” (He doesn’t have any sensory issues per se, just has a very good ear and can’t stand off-pitch singing.)

          • demodocus
            April 8, 2016 at 9:32 am #

            I think Demo was like that as a kid, too, lol. He’s got *very* good pitch

          • Azuran
            April 8, 2016 at 9:40 am #

            We had a beagle when we were kids. My mom noticed how it was howling when my infant brother and sister were crying and she reinforced that behaviour because it was an awesome baby monitor.
            So me and my older brother tweaked the dog a little so it would also howl whenever my mother was signing.

          • demodocus
            April 8, 2016 at 11:51 am #

            how kind of you, lol

          • AirPlant
            April 8, 2016 at 9:24 am #

            As a fellow trained vocalist the best part for me is when the tiny squawkers get big enough to tell you to stop singing because you sound bad and decide to fill in the gaps with their own ecclectic rendition of “Let it Go”.
            Well, that and when seemingly out of nowhere during a play date the four year old in your care lets you know that they are a one billion million percent better pianist than you. And then proceeds to spend the rest of the afternoon abusing your poor instrument while yelling percussively.

          • CCL (Crazy Cat Lady)
            April 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

            I make up songs about my cats:

            He’s my Sterling-berling boy
            And he brings me so much joy!
            He’s my handsome-wansome man,
            So I feed him from a can . . .

            It’s a good thing I teach math and am not a lyricist.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

            I found myself singing this to the children’s song “Allouette” (sp?). Bwahahaha!

          • mabelcruet
            April 9, 2016 at 3:00 am #

            Thank heaven I’m not the only one who sings to the cats! I do ‘you are my fatboy, my only fatboy’ to the tune of You are my sunshine’. Whenever I sing it he jumps on me for a cuddle.

          • Mishimoo
            April 8, 2016 at 9:34 am #

            I was scolded by my girls for singing “My little zombie! You taught me what sleep dep could be!” (My Little Pony intro tune) to the youngest when he was cranky after a long night of feeding.

            Also, to the tune of ‘Everything is awesome’
            “Everything is awful!
            Everything is crap when you’re tired bay-bee.
            Everything is awful!
            You should just go to sleeeep.”

        • demodocus
          April 7, 2016 at 9:59 am #

          I’ll mess with real songs to make them more um… relevant.
          “For thee, my dearest son, must you lie meanwhile thus neglected? [in a higher pitch] It should be so! Why should I nurse? Soon shall this tummy, to total emptiness yield…” (The original’s from a Handel oratoria about the biblical character Samson. DH’s choir sang this while I was pregnant with #1)

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

            Ha! I love it!
            Totally random trivia fact: “Samson” was the late, great Dame Joan Sutherland’s breakthrough. Apparently she brought the house down with “Let the Bright Seraphim” as a young diva in a staged production. I always preferred her voice to any other soprano’s, and while I’m neither a crier nor generally interested in celebrities, remember crying my eyes out the day she died.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

            Dem, appropriately, played Samson. The choir director wanted to make sure he (the resident blind guy) wasn’t feeling typecast. D said “Nope, I have the perfect hair for it” while patting his rather bald head.

        • Bombshellrisa
          April 7, 2016 at 11:50 am #

          I do a kids name song to “little tea pot”. It needs updating because “(kids name) short and round, mommy loves *kidname*, you’re what my life’s about”. Child started out short and then was a little round, now long and skinny.
          My son knows to play quietly when I drink coffee now. I use the same gigantic mug my mom gave me and he will play and I will sip. He usually comes over just as the cup is being emptied.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

            DD was quite good about letting mommy have ten minutes with her coffee until a couple of weeks ago, when the terrible twos hit with a vengeance. Now my not paying all attention to her at all times is a cause of hysterical, shrieking, sobbing woe indicative of a totally neglected child. Coincidentally, she’s learning (or at least, in the process of learning…*ahem*) that throwing epic fits is not a good way to get attention.
            With the next kiddo coming, I’ve been updating songs to reflect DD as a kid/toddler/non-baby. She doesn’t seem to notice or mind, and still giggles happily through diaper changes whenever we sing one of “her” songs.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

            They get a little better about giving you a little time for coffee once they’re 6 or 7, but then they backtrack around 14 or so. I’ve actually gotten into the habit of grabbing my coffee and my phone and hiding in my car or somewhere in the back yard. If they do manage to find me I just say “no” before they’ve even had a chance to ask me a question. They go in cycles. They’ll remember to stay far away from mom before she’s had her coffee for a few weeks, then they’ll forget and we go through a couple days when they try to bombard me with questions as soon as I wake up, then they’ll remember that life is always better if you wait 20 minutes for the coffee to take effect.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

            That made me grin. I have been known to hand DD off to DH while I run an errand, and then go sit in the grocery store parking lot with a latte for twenty minutes because it means I get to be by myself with my coffee and my phone, and no one saying “Mommy” or causing mysterious and concerning noises in the next room. Bliss! (Somehow, my definition of “bliss” has changed since I’ve become a parent, but I refuse to dwell on that too much atm.)

          • Charybdis
            April 8, 2016 at 9:45 am #

            It’s crazy, isn’t it? My time waiting in carpool line, waiting for wrestling/BJJ to be over, etc becomes little islands of “Me Time”. I plug my phone into my car stereo and crank up my guilty pleasure songs, read the steamy novel I’ve been trying to read for ages or some other sort of mindless fun thing. Nobody is barraging me with random questions (DS), asking me stupid questions (do I put the small plates in the top or bottom rack of the dishwasher-DH) or climbing on me wanting a lap until a someone walks by on the sidewalk (Lexi puppy). It is bliss.

            Kind of sad, too in a way.

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 7, 2016 at 11:46 am #

        I am trying to remind myself of this, especially when my house is a mess. I used last night to play duplos with my son. I actually haven’t ever done that before and it was so fun. He has a zoo set and I sat on the floor and we made little spots for the tiger, elephant and polar bear. I could tell that he loved that it was me building stuff and not his dad (dad is the Duplo builder). It made my night.
        Today might be a different story, I am taking my dad and son to the train museum. That will be less fun for me.

  8. Monica
    April 6, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    Well said, especially the last part about saving your energy for the teen years. Those teens are really pretty good at leaving your head spinning. Really, this is why I laugh at the absurdity of the breast is best for everyone argument. My teens aren’t yelling at me because I formula fed or breastfed them as infants. They are usually angry at me because I told them to do something they didn’t want to or couldn’t do something they wanted to do. Or well sometimes I think they are angry at me just because. Darn teen angst.

  9. OBPI Mom
    April 6, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    Loved this! After my homebirth, C-sections, breastfeeding troubles; my mom said to me, “Darlin’, this all seems so big right now, but as your babies get bigger you’ll see it’s not part of the big picture. It’s just small stuff compared to the rest of motherhood.” I am so thankful for her words that I took to heart. She was so right, just as you are.

  10. BeatriceC
    April 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    Ahhh. Teenagers. I went to bed in tears last night. Two of them are mad at me for grounding them. They both said some pretty nasty things. After giving up my job, my life and most of my material possessions to keep them safe, those words hurt more than I can describe. But this morning I’m doing it all again. I’ve tried to find a way to tell parents of young kids that while some of these issues seem so vitally important right now, in the end, it’s just not.

    • demodocus
      April 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm #


    • Charybdis
      April 6, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

      That has to be awful. I’m not looking forward to the teen years (DS is 12). But isn’t that supposed to be one of the hallmarks of being a good parent: you know you are doing well if your kid/s tell you they hate you?
      The hard part for me is going to be keeping my redheaded, stubborn temper in check and remembering that *I* am the adult and should be above such displays. With my equally redheaded, stubborn child who will no doubt be fit to be tied.

      Go play with your bird. At least he thinks you hung the moon, right?

      Have a *hug*. Or an alcoholic drink, with an umbrella in it.

      • BeatriceC
        April 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

        My bird decided that he loves my middles son the most. He’s now his bird. *sigh*

        • Mishimoo
          April 6, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

          My cat has decided that he’d rather hangout with my husband unless I’m studying, then he insists on sitting next to me in order to make sure that I stay focused and don’t get back out of my seat.

    • Azuran
      April 6, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

      Hang in there, they are just teens who don’t know any better. I’m sure you are doing a great job, one day they’ll see it too.

    • MI Dawn
      April 6, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

      Hugs! All I can tell you that “this, too, shall pass”. I had many tearful nights (mine, the kids, or both) during the teenage years.

      • BeatriceC
        April 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

        Thank you. (To all of you who replied). I actually enjoy parenting teens most of the time. For the most part I’m having a lot of fun raising them and watching them transform from little boys to young men. Then there’s the occasional night like last night.

        • Mishimoo
          April 6, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

          It will get better because you love them so much. Sounds a bit trite, but it worked out for one of my best friends and his mum. They adore each other even though life was pretty rough for a number of years with medical issues (not as severe as your kids) and surviving abuse, and he’s now hardworking draftsman who treats his mum to holidays and musicals. He’s not shy about how much he loves her, and I hope you’ll get to enjoy relationships like that with your boys when they’re adults too.

    • Valerie
      April 6, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

      There is a reason we as a society don’t let teenagers vote. They aren’t quite reasonable yet, so they say thoughtless things and make dumb decisions sometimes. If it’s any consolation, my fiance was grounded quite frequently for most of his teenage years, and he and his mom have a really nice relationship now.

    • OBPI Mom
      April 6, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

      I read an article that talked about a mom of a teenager making a decision for her daughter because she loved the “ultimate you” even though it would have been easier to love the “immediate you”… the immediate her being the one that would have jumped up and down and told her she’s the best mother ever and she’d have been so happy. But the “ultimate her” would have been hurt. It was sooo good to read!

  11. NoLongerCrunching
    April 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    “As the mother of four former teenagers, I can assure you that in the years ahead your children will endlessly complain about your many faults and parenting mistakes. Save your strength for those battles and enjoy your babies now.”

    So much this. I have a teen, a pre-teen, and a 9-year-old. Fundamentally the only opinions I really care about are theirs.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      April 6, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

      I remember asking my neighbor why there is so much advice on taking care of babies when it is the easy part and so little advice on taking care of teenagers when it is so hard. She said, “Because no one fucking knows”

  12. demodocus
    April 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    Sigh, i’m still trying to figure out what to do with a 2 year old who thinks time outs are fun, and doesn’t really mind that i put the rest of the rice out of his reach.

    • AirPlant
      April 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

      My mom had that problem with my brother. He loved going to his room where the toy were so our timeout spot was in the powder room. She did have to take away the toilet paper though after my brother figured out a great way to entertain himself…

      • demodocus
        April 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

        Half the time I’m chasing him out of the bathroom. He finds the toilet and various faucets fascinating.

        • AirPlant
          April 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

          At least he is a curious and joy filled sprite?

          • demodocus
            April 6, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

            *snort* Good thing he’s adorable. Do they make toddler hamster wheels?

          • Azuran
            April 6, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

            Green energy!!!!

          • Charybdis
            April 6, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

            I wish. We got DS one of those Fisher Price video game things. It was like an exercise bike that hooked up to the TV and you put the game cartridge in the dashboard of the bike. DS pedaled his way through game after game after game (educational stuff.) or just pedaled through the game not actually trying to complete anything, he just enjoyed pedaling and making his person go on the screen.

          • BeatriceC
            April 6, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

            This is how I keep my sanity. I rephrase things in humorous ways. Middle kid didn’t break his wrist in a skateboard accident; he decided to test the theory of human flight. I don’t tell the youngest to stay on the sidewalks; I tell him his wheelchair isn’t an off-road vehicle.

        • Charybdis
          April 6, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

          Box of Shame from Despicable Me?

          I’m mostly kidding.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            April 6, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

            This just made me think of the cone of shame. Which would at least stop minimonkey from chewing the furniture.

    • Rach
      April 6, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

      Aargh. Same problem here with the 2 year old. He pushes or tackles his little sister, then puts himself in timeout. He KNOWS he is not supposed to do that to her, but he does it anyway and is happy to do the time.

      • Who?
        April 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

        The child who takes the punishment as a cost of doing business is tricky. My second was like that. I honestly don’t know what we did with her-she was the younger one so hurting someone else wasn’t part of her repertoire.

        She is now a decent, law-abiding and responsible adult, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

        • BeatriceC
          April 7, 2016 at 1:38 am #

          Middle kid is one who will do that. It’s infuriating. He’s all “I know I broke curfew and I’ll be grounded for the next week. I’ll be in my room if you need me.”

          What do I do?!?!?!?

          • Who?
            April 7, 2016 at 2:35 am #


            I’ve been musing over this all day. It’s a process, not an overnight thing.

            Love the phone controls.

            FWIW, I wouldn’t hesitate to call out the ‘I’ll be in my room’ story as rude, passive-aggressive and patronising. If he wants to break curfew, or whatever it is, adding to the disrespectfulness of that by effectively sneering at the expected civilised and appropriate response should be felt by him to have not gone down well. Your disappointment should fill the room. And hang there a while.

            All of which gets very boring, and depending on temperament not have the desired effect, which for me would be showing some more respect next time, either by being on time or calling ahead to say he’ll be late.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 2:43 am #

            That’s the thing. He really doesn’t sound rude when he does it. It’s more of a “I know I broke your rules and I know I’m in trouble and I’m not going to argue it.” He gracefully takes the punishment. I’ve tried different consequences, trying to figure out what will really get to him. I can’t even use the “City law says you can’t be out without an adult”, because the girlfriend’s father is a US Marshall and has gotten him out of trouble enough times with the local cops that they just fuss at him and send him on his way. (I’m not exactly thrilled about that, for the record). He will happily do extra housework, yard work, confine himself to his room, not play on the playstation, or anything else I try to do to make the lesson sink in. He doesn’t argue or talk back. It’s almost like he’s decided he’s incapable of time management and will just do the extra work or deal with being grounded instead of training himself to be bette with time. And the thing about calling ahead? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been so exasperated with him, telling him all he has to do is text me! Shit happens. I know this. Trains don’t run on schedule, parents providing rides run late. Buses break down. It happens. Just let me know.

            He’s rarely gets rude and disrespectful anymore. He did yesterday, but I think he was feeding off his older brother, who was just off the rails.

          • Kerlyssa
            April 7, 2016 at 6:02 am #

            …have you tried something other than punishment?

          • Who?
            April 7, 2016 at 8:17 am #

            That’s so frustrating, and complex with his brother being in such difficulty himself, and the US Marshall situation not helping.

            I guess it depends what you want. Why do you mind so much that he is past curfew?

            For whatever reason, he can’t bestir himself to oblige you on this issue: you making it a non-issue would take the heat out of it. He may feel somewhat abandoned-he might in fact be looking for the
            wall-and if that’s the way it goes, that’s a good conversation to have.

            I never do understand why people say kids keep you young…

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

            I responded to a different comment, but my curfew is what city law is. Personally I think it’s too early on the weekends, but it’s out of my hands.

          • Who?
            April 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

            That’s annoying when the marshalls don’t want to enforce it.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

            What it is, is that the local cops know who the girlfriend’s father is, and the “blue wall” keeps them from doing anything about curfew violations knowing that the father will just make their lives miserable if they do. I don’t think that should be a thing at all. On the other hand, the father got a little irritated with me when the shit hit the fan with my oldest. Had I called him right away this would have gone down very, very differently.

          • Who?
            April 7, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

            You’re right, the whole situation sounds dodgy.

            Sorry you’re having to deal with all that.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

            I’ll tell the whole story once everything is final. Dodgy doesn’t begin to describe it.

          • Valerie
            April 7, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

            Unless I’m misreading the details, your kid has simply chosen that he’d rather take whatever punishment you can think of than contact you in a timely manner. I’m not a parent, but I can tell you my experience as a teenager. When I was 16ish, I realized I was going to be out of the house soon enough in college and my parents weren’t going to be privy to what I was doing when and with whom. Their “concern” was completely irrational- I had given them no reason to think I was misbehaving in any way. Straight As, lots of extracurriculars, clean driving record, etc. So I thought- they can just learn to deal with their own anxiety some other way besides depending on me to soothe them. I didn’t go out of my way to inform them of my whereabouts, beyond “I’m hanging out with Ryan.” Because really, whether or not they knew if I was still at Ryan’s or we met some friends at IHOP had no impact on my safety and no impact on them besides “worry.” That, and it annoyed me that they did not believe that he was gay and thought we were at risk of an unintended pregnancy. Did they like it? No. But there wasn’t much in their power to punish me, anyway, without risking some serious backfire. We had a couple of other power struggles, like refusing to go to confirmation class, and I’m having trouble coming up with one where either of my parents came out on top. But we did get along fine most of the time, out of mutual affection.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

            My set curfew is simply when city law sets curfew. It’s pretty much “don’t break the law”. It’s not about control. It’s about abiding by the law, even if the law is stupid. Personally I think the city’s 10 pm curfew on the weekends is ridiculous. A lot of school activities last later than that! But it’s the law, regardless of if I agree with it. So my rules are be home by 10pm or confirm with me that you’re with an adult and will be getting a ride home. If something happens, call or text. As I frown ass woman I keep MrC apprised of my general comings and goings. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the same thing of teens. I do t need a play by play. I just need “I’m going to X place with Y people and expect to be home around Z time”. If plans change dramatically (say they decide to head to the beach instead of the mall or they’re running really late), a 30 second text message to update me isn’t an unreasonable expectation.

            And I will say they are all pretty good about most of it. The curfew thing with the one kid is a problem. But he’s also a straight A student in all honors and AP classes and dedicated to his sports, so I try not to go too overboard.

          • Mac Sherbert
            April 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

            As a former teacher of kids with behavior problems I tend to think the kids that are willing to take the punishment, if it means they get to do what they want are smart. They’re strategists and will make it big somewhere.

            For younger kids like that one strategy is to put consequences in a jar and pull one when they get in trouble! That way they never know if the consequence is one they can live with for the offense they want to commit.

            One thing you might try in stead of negative consequences is positive reinforcement. Simply reward him for telling you where he is going and texting you if things change. Maybe some extra spending money or something.

            If that doesn’t work you could go all stalker mom on him. Follow him everywhere and let him know he will never ever be out of your eyesight again. 😉

            Of course, the thing about behavior is that generally you can’t change it until you know purpose of the behavior.

          • Who?
            April 7, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

            Agree about the strategist thing-that’s my daughter, always working the advantage.

            Love consequences in a jar!

          • Valerie
            April 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

            Feel free to ignore this if it’s unhelpful or pouring salt in your wounds. I’m applying my teen-logic, not sitting in judgement here. I’m not sure what I would do if I were in your situation- I just know what I did when I was in one similar to his. The thing is, informing family members of your whereabouts is a reasonable expectation to an adult, but to a teen, it doesn’t seem so reasonable. The process of calling (no texts then) with a “hey parents, I’m doing this” felt infantilizing, it was kind of embarrassing, and made me feel like they considered me untrustworthy, when I had done absolutely nothing to merit their distrust. Anyway, for whatever complicated reasons, I didn’t like doing it and I didn’t see a good reason to, so I didn’t. They had to learn not to worry all the time at some point, so it might as well be now. It doesn’t have to be about control on your end for a teen to see it that way. You are trying to make him do something he doesn’t want to do by inflicting punishment. He can be totally within the curfew law, but at the same time be breaking your rules. Best of luck to you- I hope you can figure out what his deal is and come to a low-stress solution.

          • MI Dawn
            April 8, 2016 at 9:18 am #

            You make sure that being in his room isn’t fun. No electronic toys/games/tv. No books. No telephone. No computer – homework has to be done in public areas. Boredom is a great teacher.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        April 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

        Honestly, the punishment is not sufficient. It needs to be more severe.

        Instead of time out, is there a favorite toy you can put in time out? “This toy will be in time out for the rest of the day”

        • Who?
          April 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

          Obvious, I know, but didn’t work with mine. Escalation is a dangerous path, and nuclear warfare never ends well.

          I honestly don’t remember how we dealt with it-no one else was getting hurt, which made my situation very different from what Rach is going through.

          Maybe I’ll ask her, she’s sure to remember!

          • Charybdis
            April 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

            I had to deploy the nuclear option on DS a couple of times over his 12 years. The first time was when he was something like 2-21/2 years old. It was bathtime and I told him to get undressed while I started the bathwater and got the washcloth. He thought it would be FUN to not strip off and instead go running off downstairs and hide. I called him once more to come to his bath and he declined to respond. I shut off the bathwater, calmly went downstairs and scooped him up. No nonsense, just scooped him up, told him that it was bath time and that he had used up his two chances to comply. I carried him upstairs and plunked him into his bath fully clothed. This caused an ear-splitting shriek to emanate from his toddler self and caused DH to come barreling into the bathroom wanting to know who was being murdered. Bath time was never a problem afterwards.

            The most recent incident involved school, not following the math teacher’s instructions because they were “stupid” and a drastic reduction in computer time (1 hour a day for games and non-school activities), plus the bonus of having Mom checking for is math notebook in his backpack every day before leaving carpool line and sending him back into school for it if it was not there and checking each section for completeness, name and date on homework, notes, daily activities, etc. He’s forgotten the notebook once since the first of February and the math grade has greatly improved.

            I don’t bluff.

          • Who?
            April 6, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

            I have done similar. I agree kids must never think you won’t follow through.

          • Allie
            April 6, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

            Do you contract out your services?

          • Charybdis
            April 6, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

            I might ;P

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 1:37 am #

            My kids get grumpy that they’re saddled with parents who are technologically competent. I figure it’s a lot easier to turn their phones into very expensive bricks than actually take them away, so that’s what I do. Between the native restriction capabilities on iOS and parental control options through my cell provider, I can turn their fancy schmancy iPhone 6s Plus phones into bricks that will only call and text me and MrC. I can choke off wifi, cellular data, only allow certain numbers, disallow whatever type of content I want to, etc. I don’t even need to have their phones in my hands to do it. I can do it all from my laptop. I’m kinda evil like that. Additionally, we can put individual devices on a schedule for the home wifi, which is one of the non-nuclear options.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 2:20 am #

            I must learn to do this in a few years

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 2:34 am #

            Things might work differently in a few years, but the basics are that I have certain restrictions set on the phones themselves, and pay five bucks a month for Verizon’s family base service. With that I can either block individual numbers, or set it so only approved numbers can call or be called (text too). I can either do a blanket restriction or set the restrictions on a schedule. For example, the grounded kids currently have no service between 10pm and 6am except to mine and MrC’s numbers. I can do the same with cellular data access. On the phone itself I can choke apps and web pages to below whatever rating, effectively killing their favorite games. If I want to be really mean, I can even do things like turn off the camera and disable web browsers.

            Unfortunately, we desperately need a new router, but we can’t find one that allows for schedules to be put on individual devices like the current one does. Right now if one kid is grounded I can simply turn off that child’s wifi access. I can do it all day or set it on a schedule. For example, we were having trouble with them surfing the web all night, so we set a schedule to deny access between midnight and 6am.

            Additionally there are third party apps I’ve made use of in the past. When I was having issues with one kid skipping school and another sneaking out of the house at night I put a geo fence app on the phones. If they went outside of the area they were supposed to be in, a really loud alert went off on my phone. I don’t need that anymore, but I do still use find my iPhone to check on them intermittently.

            Who knows what technology will be like in a few years. All of this might be outdated, or there could be simpler ways of doing the same thing.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 7:56 am #

            Right now, I have a throwaway phone; it has very few widgets and no apps. I just don’t have any personal interest in anything more elaborate. I wonder if it’ll be my son or my not yet born daughter who’ll be demanding a cell first (and can’t be bought off with the remote)

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

            Honestly, the biggest reason I keep everybody in iPhones is the “Find my iPhone” app. With the touch of one single button I can geo-locate all of my kids. It’s like a Lo-Jack for teenagers. Having that capability allows me to give them a lot more freedom than they would have otherwise.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

            That’s positively evil! (She says admiringly, while taking notes.)

        • Bombshellrisa
          April 6, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

          I am going to try this, although I am going to have to find a place to put the toy that the two year old can’t attempt to reach.

          • Who?
            April 6, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

            Put it away when he’s not looking-doesn’t have to be high, just obscured.

            And think carefully before taking comfort from a two year old-as Louis CK pointed out, he can’t logic yet.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 6, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

            No kidding. He is currently wailing because his garbage truck side lift thing doesn’t work. I wouldn’t take that away. But the toy vacuum or the his Hot Wheels, you bet

          • Mishimoo
            April 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

            Stating the obvious, but not on an unanchored bookcase. We have one that is permanently attached to the wall (has crown molding and everything) because my husband pulled it over on himself when he was two years old thanks to one of his cousins tormenting him by putting his favourite toy out of reach. If not for the chair which caught the bookcase, he would have been squished.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 6, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

            I was thinking top of the fridge or the trunk of the car.

          • Mishimoo
            April 6, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

            Good ideas! Ours is on top of the kitchen cabinets because he can’t reach them by standing on a barstool (yet)

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 1:30 am #

            My middle kid is a monkey. This is the kid who, prior to birth, kicked the doppler out of the nurse’s hand when she was trying to find his heartbeat. This is also the kid who could swim before he could walk, and is now the figure skating, ballet dancing American football offensive lineman. I explain all this to make clear that he’s always been both athletic and a risk taker.

            So I had to go to the bathroom and thought it was safe even though there weren’t any other adults in the house. I was alone with the two older kids, waiting for a friend to come over so I could visit the little one in NICU. Middle kid was about 13 months old and couldn’t walk unassisted yet. I had baby gates up blocking off the hallways to the bedrooms, the kitchen and dining room, effectively making the living room one giant playpen.

            So I hear some strange noises while I’m pooping, but can’t do anything about it but try to hurry up, which I do. When I get out of the bathroom I discover middle kid, who as we recall cannot even walk yet ON TOP of the refrigerator. Looking around it seems that he pushed a toy to the gate and used it to get enough leverage to vault the gate, then found my kitchen step stool and used that to get on top of the counter, then climbed on top of the microwave, which was on the counter next to the fridge, and then climbed on fridge. The whole process took less than two minutes.

          • Inmara
            April 7, 2016 at 4:35 am #

            OMG! I’m already bracing myself, because my 8 mo shows some serious intent of climbing anywhere up. Husband will have to make shelfs just below ceiling to store breakables.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            April 7, 2016 at 5:13 am #

            I’m dreading the day that minimonkey learns to climb. At ten months old he’s walking well and is strong enough to push furniture around so I think it won’t be long. And he does have a knack for finding exactly what he’s not meant to have. A few months back I walked into his room to find that he had woken up from his nap, had managed to get hold of the wire from the baby monitor, unplug it from the camera and was happily chewing away on the end! That boy likes to live dangerously!

          • Mishimoo
            April 7, 2016 at 7:59 am #

            Solid effort!! Like you, every time I come back from a solo bathroom trip it seems like he’s gotten into something new. The plaintive “Help! Muuum help! Oh dear” tends to tip me off that I should hurry.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

            I’ve said this before, but most of my stories start with “so I had to go to the bathroom”.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

            My BFF and I were just discussing half-seriously whether not eating or drinking until our kids turned 18 would be feasible, because if we never had to use the bathroom, we’d never have to put down a baby who’ll only sleep in arms five minutes into a nap and we’d never have Incidents involving toddlers/preschoolers and markers, flour, poster paint, and a household pet.

          • Charybdis
            April 7, 2016 at 9:44 am #

            DS was, and still is, a monkey. As soon as he got tall enough to reach the kitchen counters by stretching his arms up, he would latch on to the edge by his fingertips, pull himself up and flip himself over and hang there. You know, like how Spiderman will hang upside down from a ledge? Yeah. Like that. His favorite spot was on the CERAMIC TILE FLOOR side of the counter, not the carpeted side. He never fell or slipped off. He also would climb the newel post at the stair landing and jump down the entire flight of stairs.

            Dude has NO body fat, an eight-pack that Magic Mike would envy and is excelling at wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And even though he is currently all legs, arms, knees and elbows, he will still hang upside down by his fingertips “to see if he still can”.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 10:00 am #

            shhh, don’t give my kids ideas!!

          • Deborah
            April 7, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

            lol – I came home from work once to find my ten year old son and his friend riding their bikes off the roof onto the trampoline below.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

            I had a few attempts to jump from the roof into the pool. Boys are just crazy. Also, my father lost babysitting rights the day I came over there to pick up the kids after work only to find my then-2 year old on the roof of his house. He’d left an extension ladder against the house, then left the kids unsupervised outside while he went inside to get something to drink. My kid (same kid in the fridge story) took the opportunity to scurry up the ladder.

          • Deborah
            April 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

            I used to take the modem to work in the boot of my car so that my teenage son could not play video games at home when he was meant to be at school. Once I even had the electricity to the house turned off.
            The things we do for love.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

            It’s so much easier now. I can just program routers, phones, etc to make them do as much or as little as I want. And I don’t have to haul technology components around with me.

        • Rach
          April 6, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

          Sorry, I should have been more clear in my original comment. His little sister is a year younger, and has been known to walk past and push him over as well. At this stage, I think they have a mutual love of rolling around next to and climbing on each other and that’s usually started by one or the other tackling the other (a hug around the waist, the ‘tackled’ player sinks slowly to the floor and the rolling/climbing commences). We keep an eye on them when they play those games, and there is certainly no intent on either part to hurt or upset each other. Springing surprise attacks and continuing when the other doesn’t want to play results in sin-binning.

          I’m currently trying continuing his time from when he decides he’s done enough in time out, and that seems to be working. He usually lasts around a minute by himself, so I enforce however long is left in two minutes so he isn’t there for too long.

          He doesn’t have any favourite toys or items, apart from his soft blanket which he only ‘needs’ when he’s napping or it’s bedtime and I wouldn’t take that from him.

    • Allie
      April 6, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

      Right there with you. Mine sweet little angel has a violent streak that would shock Damien Omen. I have, in all seriousness, considered calling a priest : l

  13. Madtowngirl
    April 6, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    “By that he meant that there is no theory that can reliably tell us that specific inputs can create specific outputs in an individual or even in a group.”

    This resonates with me, so much. I watched my parents beat themselves up for years, because they thought they had somehow “caused” my sister to go down a pretty nasty path in her late teen/young adult years. It wasn’t until my dad was going through some old home videos that they realized she had always been rebellious.

    They raised us about as equally as parents can, yet we turned out to be two very different people. Their “input” did not have a specific “output.”. Yet, I still think they were good parents- we were always fed, clothed, and loved. There was no abuse. I think we had it pretty good.

    • Valerie
      April 6, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      I would add that the reverse is true, as well. Even emotionally abusive and manipulative parenting can result in “accomplished” children that become independent adults.

    • demodocus
      April 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

      This is the reason why i never told my father that I was developing depression; I knew he’d take it too personally.

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

        ^^this just summed up my teenage years.

  14. The Computer Ate My Nym
    April 6, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    My suggestions for new parents:
    1. Feed kid.
    2. Play with kid.
    3. Change kid until they’re old enough to take that duty over themselves.
    4. Call the pediatrician if you want to call the pediatrician. Your question will not be the stupidest one s/he has gotten tonight. No, really. Trust me on this. It isn’t.
    5. Vaccinate appropriately.
    6. Ignore any advice that doesn’t seem to be working for you.

    • demodocus
      April 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

      #4 really makes me wonder what *are* the stupidest questions the docs get

      • MI Dawn
        April 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

        Can’t answer for all pediatricians, but I know mine once told me he got at least 1 panicked call/week from someone who wanted to know if it was OK to touch a baby’s soft spot when washing them. (Yes, the nurses in the hospitals did baby bath classes…didn’t matter).

        • Dr Kitty
          April 7, 2016 at 8:13 am #

          The “meningococcal rash” that turned out to be purple felt-tip pen.

          The people who brought their toddler to A&E when it threw a tantrum, because they couldn’t get it to stop crying.

          The people who think I have a magic wand that will cure their child of tonsillitis/chicken pox/hand foot and mouth/scarlet fever in time for the christening/wedding/holiday/first communion later that day. The worst ones seem to think I have been holding out on them, but will relent and provide it if I am told about the important family event.

          The single father whose son had sore feet…because his dad hadn’t bought him new shoes in almost two years, and they were clearly at least 3 sizes too small. The child had been complaining of pain for MONTHS before they saw a doctor, and no, being unable to afford new shoes wasn’t the problem.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 8:58 am #

            You all must be so much more diplomatic than I can be. *tips hat*
            FWIW, I read a blogger from time to time who’s a police officer IRL. His remarks on the subject of getting emergent calls to a home because Junior, age 8, has decided not to go to school that morning are…scathing.

          • Megan
            April 7, 2016 at 9:02 am #

            Like the man who decided to sterilize a wound on his hand by dunking said hand in boiling water? Then wondered why sa hand was red and painful. Um, yeah…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

            …I really got nothin’. I mean, what do you say to that? Beyond, in the words of Sophia Petrillo, “Lesson One: Don’t be an idiot!”

          • Megan
            April 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm #

            I have to admit, it was really hard not to laugh. I know, I’m terrible. But honestly, I love the salt of the earth patients we have in our rural practice and this is kind of par for the course, if an extreme example.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

            The ER in question was the local trauma center surrounded by quite a lot of rural middle-of-freaking-nowhere, so yep, I could have totally seen this. Fair amount of trying to “core out” a boil with an unsterilized steak knife sort of thing, ditto “hold my beer and watch this” (usually involving pyrotechnics/cars/farm equipment/giant trees/power tools/some combination of the above) and, of course, drunk driving.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 7, 2016 at 9:14 am #

            It is a combination of ignorance and severe lack of common sense most of the time.

            I had to advise someone to go to A&E today, and explain, carefully, that “if one is good, two is better” is not a good policy when one is taking medication. Particularly when one is already on the maximum dosage of a medication with highly toxic effects in overdose.

            I do think we might have got to the bottom of why they hadn’t been feeling well for a few days though…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

            *groans dismally* Yes, I do believe you probably found the cause of their malaise.
            As a teen, I volunteered in my local ER (our version of A&E, I believe). I learned a number of important lessons, including, one memorable Independence Day, that mixing large quantities of alcohol, gasoline, and fireworks, the latter two at least indoors, rarely turns out well.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 10:03 am #

            an important skill in many fields.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

            Oh, so true!

          • MI Dawn
            April 8, 2016 at 9:14 am #

            Link? I love reading blogs like that!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 8, 2016 at 11:25 pm #

            Standard disclaimer of “no I don’t endorse everything this blogger ever wrote, I just enjoy his perspectives on some things and also like his history posts”: http://viewsfrommysquadcar.blogspot.com/2016/02/wasting-my-time.html (Side note: I misremembered, kid was 9.) Enjoy!
            On a similar “I don’t agree with everything he writes but dang he’s funny sometimes” note, you might check out The Lawdog Files; he relatively recently became a corrections officer, but ’til then was a small-town rural Texas cop who grew up in Nigeria, and writes wonderfully of both experiences. A sample: http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/2008/08/pink-gorilla-suit.html

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 7, 2016 at 10:31 am #

            The people who think I have a magic wand that will cure their child of
            tonsillitis/chicken pox/hand foot and mouth/scarlet fever in time for
            the christening/wedding/holiday/first communion later that day. The
            worst ones seem to think I have been holding out on them, but will
            relent and provide it if I am told about the important family event.

            Ouch! I get a variant of that: The people who think that I have a magic cancer cure that I’ll break out if they explain how worthy their friend or relative is to be cured. Unfortunately, by the time we’re having this conversation, I’ve already provided the best stuff I’ve got, and usually the second and third best as well. If my time machine were in working order, I’m sure I could find most of them something from the upcoming few decades, but I never have gotten the damn thing to do anything other than move me forward at one second per second.

          • mabelcruet
            April 9, 2016 at 3:18 am #

            Before I saw the light and moved in the lab, I was a medical SHO. At night the medical SHO covered the A&E dept-it was quite a small semi rural hospital. One evening I got a young man in, he was 18 ish, and both his arms were grey-blue in colour from shoulder to wrist. But there was absolutely nothing to find-pulses equal, BP and ECG normal, chest clear. I sat down on the seat next to the trolley to think about next moves, and sat on his jacket. The jacket was denim and sopping wet from rain, it’s Ireland, never stops raining here.

            Lightbulb moment! I got an alcohol swab, and wiped his arm, lo and behold he was nice and pink again. I’d never had a cardiac patient who had been so easy to cure!

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

        I don’t really want to tempt fate and/or the creativity of patients by answering that question.

      • Azuran
        April 6, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

        You wouldn’t believe the stuff we get. on the top of my head I’ve had:
        -Can my cat still have babies after she is spayed?
        -Why is my 8 month old female not spayed cat meowing all the time and showing me her butt?
        -Male dogs have nipples????
        -Cats have blood????
        -My dog’s penis gets bigger when I rub it. (not kidding, the owner was also pregnant so you’d think she’d be able to figure it out on her own.)
        I’m guessing human doctors and peds must see their fare shares of face palm questions.

        • Roadstergal
          April 6, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

          My husband is so happy we ended up with girl dogs. He had a boy dog before, and hates having to be careful rubbing bellies because accidentally rubbing a dog’s dick is weird.

        • Valerie
          April 6, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

          I gotta say, I was kind of surprised to find several nipples on my male cats underneath all that fur. If somebody asked me outright if male cats have nipples, I would have induced that they do, but I didn’t think of it until I was wondering what I could be feeling on my cat’s belly.

          • Azuran
            April 6, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

            I get the ‘it never actually crossed my mind’ thing, but at least you easily figured it out before making an emergency appointment with your vet (or worse, scratched away one of her cat’s nipple because you thought it was a tick, that happened too.)

          • Valerie
            April 6, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

            Ouch! Yeah, the first thing I did was look for one on the other side. And then I found more of them. Suspicion confirmed: totally just nipples. Itty bitty kitty titties.

        • Mishimoo
          April 6, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

          Something I don’t want to google for obvious reasons and will probably forget to ask my vet this afternoon, but please tell me that my male cat might stop masturbating once he’s neutered.

          • Azuran
            April 7, 2016 at 12:57 am #

            He might, probably will. But it’s not 100% certain.

          • Mishimoo
            April 7, 2016 at 1:17 am #

            Thanks! It’s not something that was mentioned while I was working, so I’d never thought to ask about it. Here’s hoping! (To be honest, I’m just glad that he doesn’t spray, bite or scratch)

          • mabelcruet
            April 7, 2016 at 2:57 am #

            Probably not. My cat, now deceased, was neutered and still used to regularly hump a furry cushion I had on my bed. He would bite the corner, like boy cats do with girl cats, then straddle it and grind away. When I realised what he was doing, the cushion was relocated to his basket. He was so fond of that cushion, completely faithful to it and never two timed it with any other bit of soft furnishings.

          • Mishimoo
            April 7, 2016 at 7:56 am #

            That was my vet’s answer too. I wish the cat had a favourite cushion, but no. He just plunks down in the middle of the kitchen floor and begins. Still having him neutered even if it won’t make a difference to his habits.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 8:11 am #

            Some of our males did, some didn’t. One even tried to spray things once in a while.

        • Inmara
          April 7, 2016 at 4:41 am #

          I brought my cat to vet because I thought he had hernia. Turned out it was just a fatty belly flap. Funnily, my colleague did exactly the same!

        • demodocus
          April 7, 2016 at 8:06 am #

          I asked several of these questions, of my mother before i was 10, lol. Not the masturbation one, though; i left privates alone once i was big enough to stop accidently grabbing the dog there while trying to use him to pull my infant self up. (Good thing we had a really mild-natured collie. He’d just go looking for a parent to remove the funny-looking puppy)

      • BeatriceC
        April 7, 2016 at 11:12 pm #

        This seems like an appropriate place to drop this:


        Cautions: Long, not always safe for work (medical jobs not included), and don’t eat while reading if you’ve at all got a weak stomach.

  15. AirPlant
    April 6, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    I would argue that only one type of mother is consistently viewed as a good mother. She doesn’t have any kids yet. The rest of us are unfortunately saddled with actual flesh and blood children and they ruin everything :-).

    • momofone
      April 6, 2016 at 10:57 am #

      So true. I was a kickass parent before I actually had a child. My skills have gone downhill from there.

      • AirPlant
        April 6, 2016 at 11:58 am #

        A 22 year old dude just told me a couple weeks back that he intended to use conversations and logic with his children and circumvent the bad behavior of childhood. I think that is going to be just beautiful to behold.

        • Azuran
          April 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

          Probably gonna look like my uncle who tries to have intelligent conversation with his dogs about why their behaviour is wrong and what they should do instead to be better dogs.
          Needless to say all his dogs are hopelessly badly educated.

          • AirPlant
            April 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

            Funny story, I have the same conversations with my cats. I figure there is no punishment on the earth that will stop them from depositing hairballs in my shoes, I may as well choose the one that is fun for me…

          • Roadstergal
            April 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

            I always tell my dogs exactly what they should be doing, and then follow it up with, “You speak English, right?”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 6, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

            “Nein” says the German Shepherd

          • Charybdis
            April 6, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

            I talk to my dog all the time. She listens better than DS sometimes. Minds better too, sometimes.

        • Bombshellrisa
          April 6, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

          I had a guy tell me (as I wrestled my toddler son during a tantrum) that I should be telling him “it’s not fun to do this” and to “use big words” to help him stop acting that way.

          • AirPlant
            April 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

            Dude, logic doesn’t even work when you need to convince a perfectly calm toddler to put on their shoes. how is it supposed to help with a tantrum?

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            April 6, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

            The only thing that sometimes worked for me during a tantrum was ignoring…at home if I had time it was sit on the floor next to her, turn my back and either read or just do nothing until she couldn’t stand the silence got up and came over to try to get me to talk to her. if you are late for something it’s wrestle 30 pounds of screaming toddler into a car seat(and somehow they grow extra arms and legs during tantrums). Out at a store it’s way harder and embarrassing to boot. The worst one was the week after she did a faceplant out of her crib and ended up with a black eye. Angelic looking blonde cherub with a HUGH shiner throwing a hissy fit. EVERYONE looks at you like you are the devil…
            I can’t decide if age 3 or age 15 was my least favorite…

          • AirPlant
            April 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

            I am very good at sweep the legs. Just wait until they stand, come in behind the knees and if you can get just one of the clips in place while they are winded you are golden.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

            Ignoring is the only thing that is helping here. And I am fairly sure those car seat tantrums are a punishment for something I did in a past life. Even my incredibly calm husband has lost his cool during one of those

          • Azuran
            April 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

            Well, at least at age 15 you can just let them be insufferable alone at home. You don’t have to carry them around everywhere in public.

          • BeatriceC
            April 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

            Unless they’re prone to breaking things. Then you get to sit in the hallway and stare at them in a way that doesn’t seem like you’re staring unti they’ve calmed down enough to leave them alone.

            (I’ve had to replace a few windows, fix a dresser drawer, replace a phone and replace the front windshield in my van. Before you judge, this is the kid that was victimized by my uncle and has a truck load of issues. He’s a lot better now than he was, but it was touch and go for a while there.)

          • MI Dawn
            April 6, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

            Now, that I never had to deal with. Broken things – yes, for a while my younger one was breaking electronic things left and right (almost enough to make you believe in poltergeists, actually – things would just die on her. Don’t even want to remember the number of iPods she went through, for which I bless the AppleCare insurance on a regular basis), which stopped once she hit 17 or so.

            I imagine because mine were girls, we had more verbal stuff. You have my sympathy AND my respect for dealing with all that.

          • Azuran
            April 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

            Must have been hard. I’m glad things are getting better for you.

          • Who?
            April 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

            It’s so hard with boys. A couple of my nephews punch holes in walls when they get angry, which is terrifying and demoralising for everyone.

            When my son was about 12 he threw a basketball in a rage about something. It somehow missed all the glass in the windows, but landed on a table and broke a vase. He was immediately mortified, and I told him to clean up the shards and then we’d talk about it.

            I didn’t think to talk him through safe cleaning up, and he oh so carefully put the pieces in a plastic bag, tied it up and started to carry it to the bin. Not being wrapped, the broken glass sliced the bag, and then his leg. Badly-not long, but deep and gaping.

            I don’t do blood, so gave him a bath towel and told him to lie down with his leg up, apply pressure, and I’d be with him in a moment. While I was gathering my thoughts, husband walked in, looked at the leg, and directed us to hospital, where he had several stitches.

            He found other outlets for his anger after that.

          • BeatriceC
            April 6, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

            I’m a lot more tolerant of some of the boys’ outbursts because of the history. As a battered woman myself, it took me a long time to escape the clutches of my abusers, and my children suffered. The one child suffered even more because of what my uncle did to him. They still need to learn the right ways to behave, but I didn’t come down too hard when they were in the worst of the outburst phases. Thank FSM for MrC. He’s the calmest and most insanely patient man who’s ever graced this planet. He took all this on and is really the rock that keeps me going when the shit starts flying.

          • Mishimoo
            April 6, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

            I heard of someone who began replacing plasterboard with painted plywood because he was tired of teenage boys punching holes in it. I’m not sure how well it worked out though.

            We have a house rule of “You break it, you fix it or pay for it to be fixed.” which worked okay while my brother-in-law was living with us.

          • Who?
            April 6, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

            Buy a punching bag, would be my suggestion.

            My son the cop is of the view that his cousin’s behaviour is domestic violence, and that in particular his aunt needs protection from it.

            I don’t know the boy involved well enough to be sure, but he was always a very calculating kind of child, getting others into trouble for things he’d done, lying and similar. My sense is the punching is done to achieve a goal, not in a moment of rage or out of frustration. Which is scarier really.

          • Mishimoo
            April 6, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

            Reading your description of the kid, I’m inclined to agree with your son. Kids like that don’t get better, they get worse and sometimes they figure out how to be more subtle (which is awful for everyone around them).

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 2:06 am #

            Kids can be very manipulative. We went through a phase where my two oldest figured out that if they said certain things to me I’d get into such a panic over the thought of harm to them that I’d cave. So I bugged the entire house and my car with sound activated audio recorders, plus put a tiny sound recorder in my purse (back up for the car, or if we were in MrC’s car), and vowed to stay completely and utterly calm no matter what. Essentially, I called their bluff, and then when they tried to rewrite history, I quietly found the correct recording and played it back to them. There was actually an escalation in behavior for a few weeks, but there was finally a breakthrough.

            The recordings were for two purposes. First, to show them what they were actually doing, and let them know that they couldn’t claim I was full of shit because they were recorded saying and doing exactly what I said happened, and secondly, if any of this ever went to court, I had proof of what actually happened, eliminating any he said/she said. (There were some threats to call CPS and lie to them and say I did some of the things my parents actually did. So I wanted to protect myself.) But again, these kids have a background of abuse. My parents aren’t nice people. The kids and I are all recovering together.

          • momofone
            April 6, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

            Oh sure. When you put it that way!

          • Charybdis
            April 6, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

            Bwahahahaha!! Poor guy. He’ll learn.

          • momofone
            April 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

            This makes me think of the almost-full grocery carts I abandoned when mine was small, carrying him through the store like a screeching little surfboard under my arm. Good times.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

            It’s happened a few time here. Until you have been THAT parent, you will think you can talk a kid out of being the entertainment

          • BeatriceC
            April 6, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

            I remember trying to get out of a store with my oldest in full meltdown mode because I wouldn’t buy strawberries. “Fruuuuuiiiiiiittttttt!!!!! Mommmmmmmyyyyyyyy! Fruuuuuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiittttttttt!”, screamed at the top volume a two year old could muster. It didn’t matter to him at all that I had 200 square feet of strawberry plants with ripe fruit that needed to be picked in my backyard garden and nothing I could say mattered. I got some interesting looks from people that day. I remember some young people looking at me with disgust, but I also recall two old ladies looking on with sympathy and just the tiniest bit of a chuckle escaping their lips. Something tells me they’d been exactly where I was when their kids were little.

          • MI Dawn
            April 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

            And this is why my then-husband and I decided he’d do the grocery shopping while I stayed home with Little Demon. She was so cute…and SO determined.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 6, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

            “I’m sure that’ll work brilliantly! DS, this isn’t fun, and you’re being ridiculous.” *slight pause while that works about as well as you’d expect* Then, in a bright, cheery voice, “Got any other ideas?”

        • Amy M
          April 6, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

          He hasn’t spent much time around 3yr olds then. They are the masters of irrational tantrums. Good luck trying to logically explain to the screaming child who howls that he wanted the red sippy cup, that he did, in fact, ask for the green sippy cup, which he then threw on the floor.

          • AirPlant
            April 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

            Why is my kid crying? She asked for apple juice and I gave her apple juice.

          • AirPlant
            April 6, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

            Bonus points if they are screaming “IIII WANNNNT JUUUUUUICE” while actively holding the juice that you have just provided.
            I really and truly wonder what the AP “crying causes brain damage” crowd does in those moments. Like once shit gets serious like that there is just no going back.

          • Valerie
            April 6, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

            They breastfeed. It’s hard to yell with a boob in your mouth.

          • demodocus
            April 6, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

            Mine made it work. Granted he was still an infant at the time, but he haz skillz

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

            DH, being one of eight, knows how idiotic babies can be, but he realized it all over again the day that then-newborn DD yanked the boob out of her mouth to scream about how hungry she was.

          • Roadstergal
            April 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm #


          • Azuran
            April 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

            This is so funny I can’t stop crying!

          • Roadstergal
            April 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

            I love that guy. He just has a way of Expressing It All.

          • SarahSD
            April 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

            They must think that if you demonstrate that you understand your child’s big feelings, even if they are screaming, your loving presence triggers a brain vacuum that flushes the damaging cortisol from their systems. Wait, I’ve never heard such an explanation! It’s like they only use research when it suits them or something.

          • Jules B
            April 6, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

            That is what I always wonder about that AP claim too…like, my kid has cried way longer and harder in the years since the three nights we did cry-it-out with her at eight months old. I mean, if crying causes brain damage why aren’t we all drooling vegetables by the age of eight?

          • Kelly
            April 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

            Yes, yes, yes! My 4 year old cries more than the 6 month old baby.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 6, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

            Oh well, mine wanted a Capri Sun and it wasn’t happening. Those are only for play dates. The real tantrums happen when I give him the cracker he has been pointing to. For some reason, it infuriates him that I actually give him what he wanted

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            April 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

            Because I told him not to chew on the coffee table! Apparently the terrible twos start at ten months!

          • Azuran
            April 6, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

            My boyfriend likes making toddlers cry by simply looking at them and saying ‘No’
            Instant crying guaranteed.

          • Mishimoo
            April 7, 2016 at 1:19 am #

            That is the absolute worst word according to my youngest, the second being ‘bad’. So of course he has taken to flailing and yelling “Bad man! No! Bad man!!” when his dad picks him up during public temper tantrums.

          • Allie
            April 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

            Well if you’re going to be unreasonable, can you blame him? Coffee tables are delicious.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            April 6, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

            If you look at that picture closely, you can see where he’s chewed the corner off the table. I think there are some beaver genes in there somewhere. I had to pull a half inch splinter out of his mouth last week.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            April 6, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

            Not stuck into his mouth, he was just trying to eat it. Unfortunately his gross motor development is running way ahead of his common sense development.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 1:07 am #

            Sense comes after wisdom teeth, i think.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 1:05 am #

            You should see my kid’s crib. And here I used to think cribbing was only a bad habit among horses.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 1:53 am #

            Or parrot genes. We have a giant hole about 3 feet long by 2 feet high in the woodwork on the back of the kitchen cupboards (the part that forms a wall between the kitchen and the informal dinning room). A certain bird got out of his cage unattended. That was the result.

            Also, only somewhat related, I realized that this picture is the greatest picture ever for when I describe the Evil Attack Parrot ™


          • SarahSD
            April 6, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

            You monster. Making fun of your child for crying behind their back is a damaging form of disrespect and is DEFINITELY going to ruin them for life.*

            * I have heard this actual argument made by the humorless “mamas” who like to police other parents’ interactions with or about their children.

          • guest
            April 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

            If we can’t laugh at them, their life expectancy takes a sharp downturn. I frown at humorless parents.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 6, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

            But when they are crying and they want food and you ask what and they say “ketchup” and get hysterical when you try to explain they can’t just have ketchup…if you don’t laugh there is something wrong with you

          • Mishimoo
            April 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

            Because I said no to chocolate for breakfast, even though he helpfully brought me the choc chips and a knife to open the bag.

        • demodocus
          April 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

          Bless him, i’m still having to remind my husband that logic doesn’t work with toddlers, no matter what those silly parenting books you were reading suggested. Nor does making increasingly louder sssss sounds while he’s crying. Sure, the nurse suggested that with newborns, but now the kid is 2.

          • Fleur
            April 6, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

            The sssss sounds stopped working with my daughter after two days. On the bright side, I got to see my father’s face when I told him “I think I’m supposed to be pretending to be the placenta or something” (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what a placenta is/thinks it’s something filthy).

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            April 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

            I bought a Cd called Transitions 2 when I was carrying my daughter that worked great to lull her to sleep when she was a newborn. Works so good the label warned NOT to play it while you drive

          • demodocus
            April 6, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

            We had Dadly for that most of the time. 🙂 Tantrums are another issue.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          April 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

          Toddlers have logic. It’s just…toddler logic. Which is a bit opaque to adults.

        • MaineJen
          April 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh my god, that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. *wipes a tear* Thanks for that…

          • AirPlant
            April 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

            I just want to give him one single day with a small child. We can talk after about how logic applies.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 6, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

          Conversations. And logic.
          With someone who refuses to eat when hungry, sleep when tired, or poo when they need to. BECAUSE.
          That should be…entertaining…

          • AirPlant
            April 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

            “You need to put your shoes on so we can go to the park”
            “But I wanna go to the park!”
            “Yes, so we have to put your shoes on and then we can go.”
            “NO! I wanna go to the PARK”


          • Jules B
            April 6, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

            This is why I drink, and I ain’t too proud to admit it.

          • Allie
            April 6, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

            “I don’t drink…” is what I said the other day when I walked into the liquor store and my three year old stopped in her tracks and said “Oh my goodness, look at all the wine!” : )

          • Who?
            April 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

            A woman offered to swap my dog for her two year old grandson yesterday afternoon. The boy was pitching a fit because he wanted to go upstairs to play with the bubbles, which were upstairs, and grandma was offering to take him upstairs, which meant leaving behind the hose he was playing with.

            The dog was just mooching-he loves people but was giving the toddler a very wide berth.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 6, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

            I seriously never drank very much until I became a parent. Now that I’m not only a parent of a toddler but pregnant again, I’m all but counting down the days ’til I can have my nightly beer or glass of wine again.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 6, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

            My husband and I were talking about this tonight. We were staring at each other with glazed over looks, the noise of six kids echoing through the house (not all ours, it’s spring break and there are kids here) and he mentioned there was a bottle of white wine chilling in the fridge. A bottle used to last two nights. Not anymore. Run used to be something we put in Bananas Foster and whiskey was an occasional something to sip, with bottles lasting years.

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 1:46 am #

            You reminded me I needed to get rum and whiskey. I’m going to have to settle for beer. Blah.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 7, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

            It’s just not the same, is it? I did get a very good doppelbock this past weekend.
            I have been known to go to costco when I am down in your area and get only bottles of rum and gin. I don’t know anyone so I don’t care what anyone thinks. You will know me by the grip I use carrying that bottle of Bombay Gin to my car : )

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

            Next time you are down here we should meet for coffee long enough to determine that the other isn’t an axe murderer, then head to Costco to get an ample supply of our favorite potions then come over to my house and hang out by the pool and drink to our hearts content. If you get too smashed I have a guest room.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

            I would love that! And since I never drive after I imbibe, you will be stuck with me : )

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 7, 2016 at 8:50 am #

            Heh. We haven’t generally gone past wine, but I admit to making a seriously awesome brandy-based toddy for a bad cold. Drink 2-3 of those, and you won’t care about your revolting cold symptoms any more! (Of course, on a medical level, I’m sure the alcohol/honey help the throat, and the ginger does clear the sinuses a bit.) It’ll even keep you from remembering the ability to take sick days with too much fondness…

          • An Actual Attorney
            April 7, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

            There’s a liquor store near me that hands out lollipops to children who are well behaved while their adult picks up supplies. They know their market.

          • demodocus
            April 7, 2016 at 1:03 am #

            sadly, i don’t like the taste of alcohol…

          • BeatriceC
            April 7, 2016 at 1:43 am #

            Try a well made rum runner (on the rocks, not frozen). It tastes like fruit punch. I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble with those things.

            If you skip the 151 floater you really can’t taste the other 4 ounces of liquor and liqueurs.


        • guest
          April 6, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

          I saw a little toddler at the airport having a tantrum the other day. It took two Delta hospitality agents and her mom to finally determine that the problem was that the wheeled carry-on bag was upright when OBVIOUSLY it needed to be on its side, and aligned perfectly in front of the stroller.

          Conversation and logic my ass.

    • Jules B
      April 6, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Haha! Exactly.

    • Allie
      April 6, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

      Ha, yes. Parenting would be much easier without the children. My pre-kid theories on child-rearing would all have panned out perfectly without the little munchkin bollixing them up.

      • demodocus
        April 7, 2016 at 1:01 am #

        There are advantages to being your much younger sibling’s primary babysitter. Knocked most of those theories out of my head before they could really get formed.

  16. The Bofa on the Sofa
    April 6, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    One question appeared over and over again: what method do you recommend for raising children? I answered the question over and over again: There is no method that is right for every family or even every child within the same family. There is no recipe for raising a successful child.

    I remember the Dr Amy philisophy of parenting:
    1) Don’t sweat the small stuff, and
    2) Most of it is small stuff

    But here’s the question that SHOULD have been asked, in terms of parenting: What SHOULDN’T I do?

    Let’s figure out the wrong things first, before going off on the “right way to do it”

    For example: probably not a good idea to give your baby formula made with beer.

    • Azuran
      April 6, 2016 at 10:14 am #

      I’ve started making a list of ‘do not’ for my boyfriend.
      Si far it goes like this:
      -Don’t shake the baby
      -Never ever, even for 1 second leave the baby alone in the bath
      -Dont put the baby on or in the oven
      -Dont put the baby in the fridge.
      -Basically just don’t put the baby inside anything.

      • MaineJen
        April 6, 2016 at 10:42 am #


        • Roadstergal
          April 6, 2016 at 10:58 am #

          That’s amazing. 😀

          • MaineJen
            April 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

            The “bonding with baby” is the one that slays me…

          • Roadstergal
            April 6, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

            Ha, when I passed it on to a mom-friend this morning, that was the very one I highlighted…

        • LaMont
          April 6, 2016 at 11:20 am #

          -scribbles furious notes-

        • MI Dawn
          April 6, 2016 at 11:23 am #

          Oh, that’s too awesome.

        • canaduck
          April 6, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

          You can buy the board book with those pictures (and more, I think?) It’s called ‘Safe Baby Handling Tips’. I gave a copy to my friend, a first time mother and very nervous, and she and her partner thought it was hysterical. It even has a little wheel on the front with an arrow to help delineate which parents’ turn it is to change the baby’s diaper or whatever. It’s been out for a few years so it’s pretty easy to find used; we bought it on alibris, I think.

          Edited to add that I didn’t write the book or anything, I just think it’s really funny.

        • tariqata
          April 6, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

          My husband actually did the diaper-checking don’t once. He’s normally a pretty smart guy, though, so perhaps he was just trying to get out of changing a poopy one.

          • Erin
            April 6, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

            When our son was three weeks old, my software developer husband who excels at maths and makes programs to solve hard Sudoku puzzles in under .004 seconds for fun decided that nappy free time was a good idea. It was a shame really that he hadn’t made a program to predict what might happen..

            I’ll never forget the look on his face as he got pooped on not once but three times, especially as he was trying to catch it to save the carpet.

            Brains seem to be cancelled out by baby poop.

          • Roadstergal
            April 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

            We did an 8hr endurance race this weekend, and one of our team-mates had these rather nice (if dirty) large square rugs he put out over the ground for our pit space. When I commented on them, he said he bought an area rug that could be tossed into a large Laundromat washer for each room when his daughter was born, and retired them to race duty once toddler-hood was over and the vomit and poop had slowed down…

    • Megan
      April 6, 2016 at 10:33 am #

      Next time I play circle of death with friends I’m putting Alimentum made with beer in the communal cup in the center. And then leaving the game.

    • Bombshellrisa
      April 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

      Rubbing whiskey on a teething baby’s gums is frowned upon.
      Do buckle the car seat up before you get the car moving.
      The dog might be responsible and smart, but you need someone who can prepare a snack or bottle if you want them to babysit,

      • Roadstergal
        April 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

        “Rubbing whiskey on a teething baby’s gums is frowned upon”

        Because _you_ need that whiskey a lot more?

        • Bombshellrisa
          April 6, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

          Oh, you know me too well!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

          I like the way you think, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

        • SporkParade
          April 6, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

          Well, I did find it to be an effective way of treating the teething pain from when my wisdom teeth came in.

      • Jules B
        April 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

        One evening shortly after my daughter was born (she was only a few weeks old), my S.O. and I had been visiting friends about an hour’s drive away. We got home and I popped the car seat out of the base thing, and the baby nearly fell out of the seat…because she was in no way strapped into the seat at all! Both of us in our sleep deprived state had blanked completely when we had put her in the car, clearly. I still feel guilt when I think of it!

        • Kelly
          April 6, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

          I think every parent has done that. I have done it to each of my children and I am so thankful we never had a crash

    • Charybdis
      April 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

      Don’t bundle the new baby up in diaper, long sleeved sleep-n-play, baby sweatpants, socks, hat and then swaddle them. They can get too hot.
      Don’t mix formula with vodka, beer or kool-aid.
      Don’t flavor the formula with Nestle’s Qwik (chocolate milk mix) or other flavors.
      Don’t use honey for anything.
      Don’t drop them or shake them. Ever.

      Don’t expect you will have 2 minutes to go pee by yourself.
      Don’t take baby issues personally. They really aren’t trying to make you miserable. Yet. That comes later….

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