Her Bad Mother

Thursday, March 9, 2006

The Heart is a Muscle

This is Tanner:

Tanner is Baby's cousin. He lives on the other side of the country, so he has never met Baby. But he's her biggest fan.

When Baby was still tucked away in Mommy's belly, preparing for her takeover of Mommy and Daddy's lives and the Known and Unknown Universe, Tanner was preparing for her arrival.

He designed an airplane, so that he could fly to Toronto to visit her, and then bring her back to British Columbia so that they could play together there.

Unfortunately, he kept the drafts of his designs on the kitchen wall, where they were unceremoniously erased by Someone Who Didn't Understand (another bad mother). Crayon, it turns out, is an unreliable medium for creating Important Documents.

But Tanner had a back-up plan. He would make a wish. He would wish himself to Toronto to visit his baby cousin.

And as it happens, Tanner does have a wish to use, however he wants.

Because Tanner probably isn't going grow up, and little kids like Tanner get to have at least one wish that will come true, because there are only so many dreams that can be pursued and fulfilled in a lifetime that only stretches as far as childhood.

Tanner has Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. It's what is referred to as a 'degenerative muscular disorder.' What this means: Tanner's muscles are gradually wasting away. Soon he'll be in a wheelchair. Eventually, his muscles won't work at all.

Lungs are muscle. So is the heart. One day, Tanner's heart and lungs will stop working. And then he'll die.

DMD is a genetic disorder that only (with very rare exceptions) affects boys. And it's the littlest of boys - the diagnosis usually comes when a child is between 2 and 5 years of age. Boys with DMD are lucky to live into their teens; only in the rarest cases does such a boy reach adulthood. DMD always kills. There is no cure.

A wish is a very small thing to give such a child. But it's also everything: it's magic, it's dreams, it's the promise that if you want something badly enough, sometimes, just sometimes, you can reach that thing. It's something to look forward to. It's hope.

And our precious Tanner, the little boy who loves Baby with all of his bravely pounding heart, wanted to use his one special life-affirming wish to meet her.

We told Tanner not to use his Big Wish to come meet Baby. Baby will come to him. She doesn't know about wishes yet, but she's going to learn.

Tanner's going to teach her.


This week, until St. Patrick's Day, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (USA) is running a Shamrock Drive. You can find out about it here.

You can find out more about how to support the MDA in the US and Canada here and here.

And to support making wishes come true for children like Tanner, look here.

Please pass this information along. Little boys with weak muscles need our strong muscles. And the heart is the strongest one we have.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Blog-Bashing Spelling Fascist Meanies: Turn Back Now

So... This may mean absolutely nothing to many of you out there in the blogosphere, but Rebecca Eckler has a mommy blog.

(FYI this post is not about Rebecca Eckler. There's a segue coming. Bear with me.) (Oh, and if this post is too long and preachy for you? Just skip to the baby pictures. Really. I understand.)

Rebecca Eckler, for those of you who are not from Toronto/from Canada/readers of Canada's national newspapers (of which there are only two, because, um, this is Canada), is a columnist of the Candace Bushnell-confessional variety, which is to say that she writes about the minutiae of her own life, which is basically just like keeping a blog but getting paid for it. Anyway. She's best known for having chronicled her experience of getting Knocked Up and everything that happened thereafter, and now she is a mommy, and is blogging, and is writing about mommy-blogging for one of the aforementioned newspapers. You get the picture. (Students of post-modernism/post-structuralism/Critical Theory - there's a thesis in here somewhere for you! Something about the Self-Referential Sign, maybe? Go nuts!)

Some people really have a problem with the kind of writing that is her bread and butter, I'm guessing because to such people, some girl getting paid good money to just blather on about the petty details of her life seems either a) unfair, or b) further evidence of the decline of Western Civilization. And as it turns out, these sorts of people also have a problem with her doing same for free as a blogger. Only a few days up, and already, apparently, she's getting the hate mail. Can't comment on that directly, cuz I don't know what was said, so let's put it aside. I can comment on the periodic blog-bashing that occurs in the comments to her blog, however, about which I'll only say this - STUPID, full caps. The bashing largely pertains to her spelling, with a smidge of class-warfare mixed in for good measure. (1) ( I was on the receiving end of some contact bashing when I commented, at this post, that spell-bashing was stupid, which, apparently, makes me some sort of evil spell-basher basher. These people have issues.) (2) But this post isn't specifically about the spell-bashing, either...

(Cue segue!)

This exposure to the ill-considered outbursts of those who can only be called blogtards got me thinking about good mommy-blog (and daddy-blog) citizenship. It's tempting to view the Internet as one great big experiment in anarchy, but as a political scientist (3) I'm gonna have to pull rank here and assert the contrary. It's full of communities, big and small, and all communities have norms of decent behaviour. And (warning: preachiness ahead) I think that there are a few obvious norms that apply to the community that is parent bloggers, and they're kinda like the ones that apply to the schoolyard (yeah, I know that analogy has been DONE but my mommy-addled imagination isn't currently stretching beyond the tropes of childhood.)
I'm sure that 'blogosphere principles of consideration' have been flogged about all over the place, and nobody's trying to play the role of Legislator here (okay, maybe Baby is.) This is just how we're viewin' things over here at Baby Headquarters. So, herewith, WonderBaby's Rules of Engagement for Interblog Relations:

1. Be nice.

Duh. As mothers everywhere have long said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. This does not mean that there isn't all sorts of room for debate, critique, dialogue, etc., etc., but dudes? Slagging spelling (4) and getting pissy about Prada bags does not count as any of these. We all know how to discuss/dispute/debate things nicely - if you disagree with something, do so politely. Related: if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, maybe don't say it (so, if you're planning to log in to comment as 'anonymous,' consider rethinking that.)

My mother does NOT dress me funny!

2. Practice playing well with others.

Respect the terms of the discussion at any given blog: if folks are talking about embarassing kid moments/potty training/swim club politics/whatever, don't bust in with some unrelated rant (you are a bad speller, Prada-toting whore!!!). Again, be nice.

3. And DO play with others...

Most bloggers are out in the mommy/daddy-bloggin' playground because they're looking for some company - for support, commiseration, some reassurance that they are not ALONE. Everybody does some lurking, but sometimes you gotta just jump in. Leave a friendly comment at a post! Let other bloggers know that you know that they're there. If they wanted to be alone, they'd be keeping a private diary.

4. ...especially new kids and the kids over there in that other corner...

Hey, I think that Dooce and Amalah are super cool too. But if everyone spends all of their time clustered around the cool kids, they miss out on making new friends and playing new games. Visit new people! If you follow the link from a comment that grabbed your attention and find an interesting new blogger, let them know that you sought them out. Invite them to visit you. Maybe, if you really like them, you might even link to their site ('cause people? We already know where the cool kids are.) Spread the love!

5. If you don't like somebody, don't hang around them.

That is, if you don't like a blog, don't visit it. (I suppose that it's worth making a related point here, given that blogtards seem to LIKE blog-bashing and so will inevitably continue to visit blogs that they hate - if some blogtard is being an asshole, ignore them. Am repeating this to self like mantra.)

6. Be nice.

That just bears repeating.

Do it for the children...


1) Apparently, there is some rule, somewhere, which states that people who do not have exemplary spelling skills should not own Prada. Or that people who do own Prada are obliged to have such spelling skills. I can't even think of anything funny to say about this.

2) And there's a clause to the above-mentioned rule: people who own Prada and can't spell should not, under any circumstances, be defended, because after all, they own Prada and so any and all criticism of them is unassailable. Very simple principle at play here: People With Money are inherently evil. You know, like Nazis. Judge them by different standards.

Nietzsche called this ressentiment (which is commensurate with things like 'slave morality,' so you don't need me to give you a primer on Nietzsche to know that it's bad), and it is, apparently, flourishing in the blogosphere.

FYI: I don't own Prada, so this isn't a sympathy bitch. Pettily peevish people just bug me, is all.

3. Not a scientist. Oh god, so not. That's just what they call the broad academic field in which I practice (clear throat) my particular discipline.

4. I'm usually the first to go all spelling-fascist on the asses of the illiterati. But I usually reserve that impulse for marking papers and that kind of thing. I don't think that blogs should be policed for spelling because a) spelling errors on parent blogs are usually typos that are the result of crafting posts while clutching an infant or wrestling a toddler (and let's not get all holier-than-thou about spell-check. Most of us are writing under challenging conditions and things like spell-check and editing often fall by the wayside.) And, b) just kinda unneighborly given the informality of the blog.



Although I, having blathered on about community and spreading love, am clearly not Nietzschean, WonderBaby (aka √úberBaby), who is continually demonstrating Will to Power, emphatically is.

So, note to the blogtards - if any are reading - courtesy of WonderBaby, Imperial Leader:

Thanks for reading, Last Men! Now you may go back to your newspapers!

Monday, March 6, 2006

Oooh, prizes...!

I never, ever, win the kind of contests where it's the luck of the draw or the scratch or the numbers or whatever. I don't have that kind of luck. I was lucky if I even got to the cereal box toy before my sister did. (I like to think of this in terms that Machiavelli set out - that I suffer 'a malignity of fortune' which is compensated for by my substantial virtu, or excellence. But that's another story...)

Malignity of fortune aside, I still LOVE contests. And there's a mommy-bloggin' contest going on over at A Mama's Rant, for BusyBodyBooks (which I learned about at A Mommy Story, where you can also find a very funny story about toddler cursing, as in 'what the f*** is up with my new diapers, bee-yotch'-type cursing coming from the mouths of babes. Which reminds me that I want to do a post about parent cursing, as in 'what the f*** is up with the swaddle'-type cursing from the mouth of mommy in front of babe. But I digress...)

A BusyBodyBook is a dayplanner for parents, which, although I have no direct experience of it, has got to be a good thing because hello? keeping track of all baby-related activities and appointments and whatever ain't easy when you're all bleary from the parenting business that you can't keep track of in the first place. So, yeah, want one, and you probably do too, so go check it out.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Incoherent Oscar rambling

1. Michelle Williams. Okay, so we all know about how Heidi Klum was strutting her Victoria's Secret behind mere minutes after giving birth, but she's not of this planet. Michelle Williams, on the other hand? Not from Planet Vicki's, gave birth 4 months ago and she still turns up at the Oscars looking like a stick insect (in a very pretty dress, but still!) How does that happen? I gave birth after she did and I'm still working the yoga pants with the forgiving waistband 90% of the time.

2. Naomi Watts. When are girls with no chest going to learn that absent boobage you DO NOT go strapless in full or even in part? That when you have a knobby clavicle you do not draw attention to it? Did they learn nothing from Gwyneth's pink prom dress fiasco? Hoist those puppies UP!

And? Why a dress - boob support issues aside - that looks like bunched-up tissue paper?

3. Keira Knightley so bugs me. I don't why exactly - maybe it's the tight-jawed British yapping about how hard it is to be so beautiful and so young and so put-upon, cuz you know, that gets old quick - but it's kinda more visceral than that. Needs-a-smack kinda visceral. But that's probably just me.

4. What was up with the stuffed penguins, French dudes? OK, so you made a documentary about penguins (which, BTW, I do not recommend to pregnant women who cry at everything. Fuzzy little penguin babies struggling to survive at the harsh edge of the world is not safe viewing material. Learned that the hard way.) But, um, are you not undermining yourself as a serious filmmaker (ok, in this case, plural - filmmakers) if you tote around stuffed animals in public? It's not like the real penguins are watching down in Antartica going 'nice, dude's giving us props.' You're just on stage with a toy.

'Kay, getting cranky. I'll drop the Oscar bitch for now.

(I coulda been watching my first-season DVD of Lost! Which yes, I missed last year because I was teaching Wednesday nights which put me SO out of the loop of the zeitgeist - does the zeitgeist have a loop? - but now am catching up on and am HOOKED on and can't believe that precious Baby-free TV-viewing time was sacrificed to look at stuffed penguins! Aagh!)