another brilliantly designed bit of kid stuff from our heroes up north.
1. making homemade paneer cheese: a bad idea for people with frequent exposure to spit-up.
2. Burt's Bees peppermint foot lotion. My relaxing Good Wife Foot Massage backfired into a group gag session. What the hell do they put in that stuff?
The other day, I took my four year old and nine month old to the big summer show at the Whitney: Summer of Love: The Art of Psychedelia. My son went nuts in the room with the strobe lights and the dayglo tiled floor. The baby was Oh!ing with excitement at every turn. And you should have seen her rocking to the fuzz-wah riff in "Defecting Grey", silhouetted against an oil and water film backdrop. There were a few other kids at the show, and they were all really into it. Now and again a passerby would complain to their cohorts about it being inappropriate; drugs and sex and all. While I did stop short of the explicit Yayoi Kusama film (annoyingly enough, for me) there was nothing else in the show that felt wrong for my son to see. In fact, it seemed to be right up a kid's alley. Bright colors, great music, fun shapes… what's not to like? I've often thought that the Baby Einstein videos were oddly similar to psychedelia. I curled into a half-womb segment of Panton's Phantasy Landscape Visiona II , switched the audio tour to the Velvets and watched my kid climb crazy over the art.
It was strange to return home from this groovy wonderworld to the (very minor and possibly contrived) controversy of Babble's pot mom story . The Three Martini Playdate is a well-marketed parenting ethos, complete with a sequel. But one toke, and the pot mom gets, gotta say it, stoned by the villagers. I'm not suggesting that piece would have been any better received had she said she was taking swigs of vodka out of a flask…or maybe I am. Cocktails are the acceptable freedom of autonomous adults. Pot is for the young and irresponsible. A glass of wine or two? Of course, mommy's gotta unwind. But no one's going to say that being high around your kids is ok. We just don't live in that kind of world. But we don't live in the kind of world that people who chastise mothers who smoke talk about either, where everyone sits in lifeguard chairs waiting at the ready for a threat.
In this world, parents wouldn't be impaired or distracted in any way. No phone calls, no checking email, no cooking dinner. True, these things don't affect your nervous system. but they certainly affect your attention. And don't they affect your response time? Many of the angry mobsters railed at the idea that as a parent, you need to be ready to act at any instant. What if that instant happens while you're finally on the phone with the insurance company after twenty minutes on hold? Or while the UPS guy's buzzing, or your office suddenly needs a file that you swear was right here on your desktop yesterday? Pot may impair your reflexes, but from what I can remember from my own wild oats, whenever something scary happened while I was impaired, the buzz vanished instantly.
Although my parents were less hippies than "hippie style", there was some passing of joints around the Passover seder. Oral history has me arbitrating the order of smokers at a Tanglewood concert circa 1973.* I have not repurposed my son's preschool bossiness in such a manner and have no intention of making pot smoking part of his family experience...especially not after my just-say-no-fueled confrontation of my mom, at the aforementioned seder table.) Using drugs of any kind to "get through" something (parenting or otherwise) is a semi-questionable situation. While neither of us here at thenewmom has personally smoked pot in quite awhile, we do have a deep respect for its benefits (from a purely hypothetical/historical standpoint). There must be a reason that stoned people and children have a shared appreciation of things. Could shared appreciation lead to more attention, rather than less? They recently discovered that driving while talking on the phone is actually more dangerous than driving drunk.
So who knows?
*my mother would like you to know that she "hardly ever smoked pot". Also, she says, it was the time.
I just listened to this NPR report about how wealthier families are having tons of kids: "In the world of the wealthy, 4 has become the new 2." Women interviewed in Darien, Connecticut claim that jealousy and baby lust are part of what drive them to get knocked up again and again. One mom says she feels the otherwise thankless job of raising kids is "validated" when there are four to handle. And Jill Kargman, author of Momzillas, suggests this is rerouted "career ambition"; that these moms are engaging in "competitive birthing." On some level it's happening just because it can: money does make a difference. And it's not just childcare (poor people use childcare all the time; they have to work). It's being able to hire someone to come over and put training wheels on all the bikes. It's being able to afford 100K for school tuition each year. Little things like that.
"I feel like the baby was delivered by a stork" were the first words out of my sister's mouth last week after giving birth to her second baby in a wee 7 hours that were almost entirely bathed in an epidural cocktail. "Plus, I have no recovery pain this time. I feel better than I did yesterday when I was 40 weeks pregnant in 100 degree heat." Her first birth was long, painful, natural, horrible, wonderful and supported by a team of midwives at a birthing center in Australia. This time she was going for the "American way." And she loved it.
Watching her strut around the hospital literally hours after the delivery did make me question my au natural aspirations--after a medicated birth the first time around, I'm attempting a drug-free/midwife-supported one this time.
Neither of us were unhappy with our first labors. My sister doesn't regret her natural birth at all; this time was "way less of an experience and less memorable." I loved the epidural. But we were/are curious to try the "other way." Both the gleeful narcotic birth and the epic, endorphin-riddled natural birth "experience" are advertised to us for nine months. It's hard not to wonder. But then again, my sister and I shared an even bigger goal: how can we do this second birth in the easiest most convenient way!? The answer to this question, depends on who you ask!