My generation’s fathers are so much more involved in child-rearing and god, they’re all much happier for it. These are some very nice photos of active fathering.
Archive for the ‘toddlers’ Category
This essay is written by Cristina Nehring. Do you remember the controversy around her essay about her love for her disabled child last year? Anyway, here she is writing about being a single parent and entering a new love affair – it’s not a brilliant essay, it’s just interesting. She specialises in big sweeping statements that can piss readers off but I do like the way Nehring explores her life with a bigger picture in mind. And I’m always interested in the topic of parents having sex lives, as you know.
Here’s Nehring in The New York Times with “Are parents better lovers?”.
But now I was there — even if I was on the other side. And all my fears were true: I did make Dice my priority. I’d find myself pushing her baby carriage through the park and thinking “I never spent near this much time with any man in a park.” Nor has anyone ever listened to me so rapt, nor smiled at me so winsomely, tenderly, heartbreakingly.
“It is notable — and worrying — that young people’s presence in public places, regardless of their behaviour, was considered to be an ASB by four in ten adults,” said Hulley. “The information that adults have about young people, for example from their negative portrayal in the media, often defines them in terms of the threat that they allegedly pose to adults.”
In making a direct comparison between younger teenagers’ perceptions about particular (so-called) anti-social behaviours with those of adults — as both groups completed the same questionnaire — the research was the first of its kind, and could offer valuable pointers to policy-makers looking to foster more cohesive communities during a time when the generation gap appears to be widening, says the study’s author.
“In the context of increasing distances between generations, between ‘them’ and ‘us’, efforts should be focused on improving social connectedness by bringing adults and young people together so that adults can get a better understanding of young people and their behaviour,” said Hulley.
Just maybe, something similar happens with babies and little kids in public space. I say this because whenever the topic of babies in public space comes up you see a lot of very angry personal stories from people about how terribly disruptive little ones are in public and how completely rude and indifferent to this disruption their mothers are. This surprises me because I hang out quite a bit with mothers and babies and I don’t see a whole lot of this stuff happening. You would think I would be seeing some of this epidemic of bad behaviour. But what I see is the occasional rude parent just as I see the occasional rude elderly person, or the occasional rude teenager, or the occasional rude twenty-something person. I don’t see an over-representation of mothers with babies and small children in my experiences of rudeness in public. Maybe there’s a bit of confirmation bias going on, just maybe. And maybe that bias has its roots in misogyny..
“Dear parents, you need to control your kids. Sincerely, non-parents” at The Matt Walsh Blog.
See, I figure there are two types of people who mock and criticize parents whose children throw tantrums in public. The first is — from what I gathered based on your age (you looked about 19? 20, perhaps?) and what you said in your follow up email — your type: the non-parent who thinks, if they ever have kids, they’ll discover the secret formula that will prevent their hypothetical son or daughter from ever crying in front of other people. Then they promptly scrutinize and chastise real parents for not having this fake, imaginary, impossible, non existent formula. This sort of non-parent doesn’t realize that, unless they plan on using a muzzle and a straightjacket, there is nothing they can do to tantrum-proof their toddler.
Fine. Ignorant non-parents, who don’t know what they’re talking about, imposing ridiculous standards on actual parents because it makes them feel superior. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. As bad as you people are, you’re not nearly as horrible as the second type: actual parents with grown children who judge other parents, as if they haven’t been in the exact same situation many times. I had an older guy complain to me recently about babies that cry during church. He said: “Back when our children were babies, you didn’t have this problem.” Interesting. Apparently babies didn’t cry in the 50′s. The whole “crying baby” thing is a new fad, it would seem. These folks who had kids a long time ago seem to have a rather selective memory when it comes to their own days of parenting young kids. They also tend to dismiss the fact that modern parenting presents unique challenges, some of which didn’t apply several decades ago. I always love the older folks who lecture about how THEIR kids weren’t as “attached to electronics” as kids are nowadays. That’s probably true, but mainly because, well, YOU DIDN’T HAVE ELECTRONICS. You had a toaster and a black and white TV with 2 channels, both of which were pretty easy to regulate. But, sure, congratulations for not letting your kids use things that didn’t exist. On that note, I have a strict “no time machines or hover-boards” policy in my home. It is stringently enforced. I’m thinking of writing a parenting book: “How to Stop Your Child From Becoming Dependent Upon Technology That Isn’t Invented Yet”
It is hard, as I have said before, to reconcile the chaos of life with little children to the presence of those children themselves. Who strewed those toys, who smeared that food, who reorganised those cupboards, who broke that bowl? Surely not the children, who sit on the floor and are charming. By whom was I run ragged in the night so that I fortified my day hours with caffeine? Surely not the baby, who is napping peacefully at noon.
The narrative question, then, is how to tell stories about the children in a way that reconciles the love with the chaos but does not diminish either. And the aesthetic question for me is how to do this in a way that doesn’t bury itself in received tropes, in the modes of online motherhood that populate message boards with ciphers and acronyms. There is only a need to tell “the truth” about parenthood because the established modes of expression answer to norms of social conservation and cohesion. These work against truth-telling to the extent that exploring the difficulties becomes confessional. At the same time, the delight, the heart’s long joy in children, becomes yet another neo-liberal mode of choice and thus private, personal, not for public consumption. Loss and melancholy then fall into the trope of consequence, and people whose stories inhere here: the infertile, the bereaved, are excluded.
You must. Watch this.
If you take the words of a 2-year-old and put them in the mouth of a grown man, suddenly the malevolence and intimidation really shine through.
Matthew Clarke has launched a new series called “Convos With My 2-Year-Old” where he takes actual conversations he’s had with his daughter and reenacts them with an adult man standing in for her. The result is hilariously creepy. Watch episode one above.
I think this is why when you have very small children it is difficult to be excited about art .. because you feel like you now live in art. And it’s exhausting.