Her Bad Mother

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Day Is It Again? Oh, Right: NOT FRIDAY.

I need a day off. I know, we all do, but I am special and especially tired, so could somebody please arrange for a holiday for me? One, preferably, where all I have to do is lay down and eat chocolate and watch bad television?

I would like that.

In the meantime, here is a half-assed summary of things that you should be considering as you go about your Thursday:

1) Do children have a right to be treated civilly? A few of the commenters to my last post don't think so. I do. Discuss amongst yourselves.

2) Are you able to go more than a day or two without eating meat? I could, if I wasn't pregnant, and if I hadn't recently spent a few days in Montreal, where I was unable to go more than a few hours without eating poutine (fries and cheese curds drenched in a rich gravy that I'm pretty sure was once intimately acquainted with a cow.) I'm ordinarily pretty veggie, but hells if this fetus doesn't like him some gravy with his bacon.

3) Will Mothergoosemouse have her baby today? All signs point to yes.

4) Why is the entertainment media so prone to evil? Why do I regress to my youthful - and more or less misguided - Marxism (capitalism has alienated us from our very souls; revolt, revolt) when I read stories about shit like THIS?

5) Is it worth getting stressed out over coffee when pregnant? Especially when, you know, there is so much else to get stressed out about? Like, say, whether you might die of a brain aneurysm in your sleep, or whether Katie Holmes might spawn again, or the fact that the new season of Paradise Hotel will not be airing in Canada? You know, important stuff.


Meanwhile, I must go find some chocolate, and dream of the day that I can finally get some sleep and stop worrying and learn to love the chaos, etc, etc.


Blogger Someone Being Me said...

Ok. I will try to address some of the questions above. 1. I don't believe children should be treated as second class citizens. However I believe they need to earn that right by showing that they can behave themselves. If the child is being well behaved I have no problem with them being somewhere but if they start acting up I think the parents should take them out of there. 2. Yes, I can go for awhile without meat but not forever. I live in the Beef capital of the world. I need my hamburgers, steaks and tacos. 3.I don't know MotherGoose so I won't speculate. 4. They are prone to evil because they have become desentized. They have pushed the envelope so long they don't know where to stop. 5. I didn't get stressed about coffee when I was pregnant. I drank decaf mochas and pretended they were fully loaded. Same with tea. Mind over matter.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Cursing Mama said...

I too am special and would also like a similar holiday if I can please throw in the caveat that the eating of chocolate will result in weight loss, since I am not with child but am apparently resembling such.

Drives me crazy when people assume kids will disturb them in some way. I realize that there are a lot of poorly behaved children roaming this planet, but no attention is paid to those who are stunningly well behaved in public. Mine in particular were fantastic in scary situations like fancy country clubs and at the theater - they save all of the icky stuff for home. Still, at 12 & 15 - blech.

12:07 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

1. There's no reason children can't be treated civilly, even when they need to be disciplined.
2. I can go without eating meat for a few days, except, like you say, when I'm pregnant.
3. Woo hoo! Hope it goes well for her.
4. Evil, disgusting bidding war... and yet there's a market, and it is us. Sigh. So depressing.
5. I stopped stressing about the caffeine and was a diet-coke-a-holic through my pregnancies. Sue me. I needed to function.

Sleep well.

12:17 PM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

1. Yes. All humans of all physical, mental, and emotional capabilities deserve to be treated with at least basic civility.

Even, I would put forth, when they are not behaving civilly themselves. Two wrongs rarely make a right, nor does eye-for-eye illuminate or enlighten anyone.

2. I can go without eating meat, but not without eating bacon.

3. Yes.

4. As long as Tom Cruise is alive, there will always be evil in the entertainment industry.

5. No.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Candygirlflies said...

I have officially declared it a "Ferris Bueller Day" at our house... because we, too, desperately need a DAY OFF.

Come on over to my blog for some music to celebrate!!

xo CGF

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooo I even found a note book because I thought it was going to be 13!

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Don't know
4. Marxists still rule!
5. Maybe - heard it on the news.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

1) Do children have a right to be treated civilly?

Yes. Of course....

Oh never mind...what Ewe and Jozet said. Ditto that.

2) Yes, easily.

3) No clue.

4) Because for some reason they think they need to sink to the lowest common denominator on the misguided assumption that this sells better.

5) No.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Children do in fact have all the rights that any other people do including being treated civilly.
2. I am able to go more than a day or two but I don't want to. I try to at least buy a lot of our meat products from local sources.
3. How exciting, good luck MGM.
4. This whole thing with Heath Ledger still makes me want to cry. Vultures!
5. I never got stressed but I was also told I could have up to 300mg per day and I rarely went over 150mg. And I learned the caffeine content of most of the things I liked to drink. I couldn't go completely off of it though, I love coffee too much.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

I haven't looked at the study, only seen the media reports, but I'd be interested to know if the miscarriage rate rises with every bit of added caffeine, or if it spikes at the two-cup-a-day level and then levels off. I drank decaf during both my pregnancies, and in the second case that was motivated in part by my desire to eat as much chocolate as possible without having to calculate caffeine levels. I developed an aversion to chocolate during my first pregnancy, but I read a study that reported that babies whose mothers ate lots of chocolate during their pregnancy were HAPPIER. So I considered chocolate-eating to be a maternal duty.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

1. Children don't have a lot of rights in the US, particularly under about age 14 or so... but they sure *deserve* to be treated with civility. And remember that children's memories are long and vivid... those who treat a child uncivilly do so at their own, long-term peril.

2. I am, yes. Every once in a while I'll go on a veggie kick and avoid meat for a month or more. Now, if you inclue seafood in that list, it's harder. But I am able.

3. Sure, 1/31's got a nice ring to it.

4. Oh, yes, indeed. I have a post on my blog, umm... here: http://katesaid.wordpress.com/2008/01/28/indecent-exposure/ about another aspect of the Heath Ledger story that makes me want to stab my eyeballs out with a knitting needle.

5. No. I did lots of research when pregnant with my son (2nd full-term baby) and the prevailing wisdom is that you should try to keep caffeine consumption under 350 mg per day. There's lots of charts online... that's 2-3 cups of household coffee, one Starbucks/etc. cup, or 10 cans of Coke.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

1. I think that there's a way that children deserve to be treated in a decent society - not the same way that we treat adults, exactly, because they don't have the same responsibilities and priviledges but well and with kindness. People who want a child-free public space... well, my response to this is kind of rude, actually.
2. Yes, we do one or two vegetarian days a week, but I'm STARVING on those days.
3. Mayhaps.
4. The entertainment media has ALWAYS been like this. I think it has something to do with our conflicted feelings about the people who entertain us - we desire them and yet also feel that they're unworthy of their fortune.
5. I don't think so. I think that in moderation it's probably fine.

3:33 PM  
Blogger ByJane said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccccccckkkkkkk! I can't resist:

Will you please, please, please define "civil treatment"!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

ByJane - I define it for children the same way that I define it for anyone else: treatment with courtesy and politeness; treatment that is marked by consideration of the person's personhood (consideration that the person in question has, you know, feelings. For starters.) The same *basic* treatment that we all expect, at a minimum: to *not* be grimaced at or sneered at or disparaged openly, on the basis of some group characteristic that we possess (race, ability, age.) To not face any expectation of being shunned or excluded from social spaces for any reason other than demonstrated behaviour.

(There are, as I said in a comment to the last post, no laws in western societies demanding basic civility - but it is an established social norm, a norm that, as many of the greatest political philosophers have said, forms the basic components of the glue that holds such societies together.)

Children *are* persons, after all - they are not pets or mineral matter. And they are - as Aristotle argued - future citizens with every right to considerate treatment fitting to citizens-in-training. They cannot become good citizens otherwise.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Tell me how that learning the love the chaos thing works. ;)

Hope you get to take a break soon.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

AM reading these comments. And I'm clinging to what Bub and Pie said about the chocolate. I ate TONS of chocolate during my pregnancy. (In the past I've always wondered if the boy's issues are a result of me eating too much candy while he was in utero. But But and Pie fixed that for me. YEAY. No more guilt. (Ok. Probably more but at least not on that. heehee.)

Ok. Am off to click on some of these links you've provided. Especially the mothergoosemouse one and the kid citizen one.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

I'll take my nieces anywhere. Now, I do expect them to behave...but they are just kids and it's unreasonable to assume they will never get out of hand, just like it's unreasonable for someone to look at them and freak just because. But that's my view and everyone is entitled to theirs. Although I have said to a few people in the past, how can we expect kids to learn to behave properly if we don't take them to nice places and show them how to behave properly.

Meat...I can go a few days and then I start craving it.

Coffee - I'll probably still drink a bit of it, as I'm not nice without it.

6:39 PM  
Blogger ComfyMom~Stacey said...

1. I think children, and adults, deserve to be treated with civility. I think that both should be asked to leave the store/restaurant/church when they are continually disturbing others. As for childfree zones, I support the idea, though I htink what most people think of as childfree zones are more whining, crying, shriek free zones and a number of adults would have to be excluded from them as well.

2. I can go a few days without meat, but I've never really wanted to, except when I was pregnant & had an aversion to everything that wasn't orange.

3. I don't know

4. Conventional wisdom says that evil sells. If it is shocking, vulgar, nasty, mean or violent apparently the majority of us want to see it. Until there is evidence to the contrary (such as People & E! losing all their susbscribers) it will continue to perpetuate itself.

5. No it isn't. I mixed decaf in with my regular grounds and added more milk to my normal 2 cups of coffee and went on about my business. Of course near the end of my second pregnancy when I was unable to sleep at all due to discomfort my OB said "Have a glass of wine at bedtime & see if that helps."

7:21 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

kids are people, right?

7:52 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

On the meat: I couldn't eat enough meat for Son when I was pregnant with him. "More more more! More Meat!" his little 16-cell self seemed to shriek at me one day into the pregnancy...and that never stopped until he was born. It's an old wives tale, but it sure was true for me. With daughter, I could barely stand the sight of meat, let alone the taste of it, and all I wanted was fruit. All the old wives would tell you that was right for a girl-child too...

On the coffee, here's the thing: there's enough to beat yourself up about without adding coffee to the list. As long as you're not stirring the sugar in with your crack pipe, I think it's fine. You can choose to go decaf. But I was in Italy for three weeks at the end of my first trimester with Son, and they don't believe in decaf. I knew better than to ask for it. I just ordered cappuccino for breakfast, and drank the best coffee of my whole life every morning for three weeks. He came out just fine.

As for a cozy chocolate day, I hear ya' sister. Tomorrow my kids have daycare, and we're supposed to be in the middle of a snowstorm of epic proportions. Wanna' teleport over, and I'll make you muffins and giant cups of hot chocolate, and we can sit by the fire and watch the flakes come down?

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi catherine of course children should be treated civilly even when they are making me yank out my hair and curse in foreign languages....umm i don't eat meat but my last two pregnancies i loved the smell of meat cooking which now of course makes me gag....oh i hope all goes well for mothergoosemouse....i have been listening to sex pistols lately harr revolt.....and don't stress too much over the occasional cup of java...as for heath why don't the press/media leave the poor man alone...i don;t want to see him using drugs i mean hes already dead...let him be now....LAVANDULA

1:24 AM  
Blogger Ozma said...

With the video, I think it is almost funny that these things like 'famecrawler' are SHOCKED, JUST SHOCKED. They argue they have a bottom line but I can see how whatever it was (Entertainment Tonight? I forgot) did not see that there was a bottom line because there almost seems to not be one. I mean, it's a free for all and then there is something SO HORRIBLE and it stops you up short, like that video. But almost everything up to that point is allowed and that's going kind of far.

There hasn't been one for a long time. Weren't there Elvis autopsy photos somewhere or other?

If I do ever manage to carry to term again, I will worry about everything. That's just the way it goes.

3:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do children have a right to be treated civilly? That’s a disingenuous question because the real question is: why don’t all people love my child and find him or her as fascinating and loveable and wonderful as I do, all the time? They cannot nor should they be expected to – it has nothing to do with the wonderful humanity or cuteness or talent of any single child. All children are beautiful in their own way. People have other things on their minds, have the baggage of bad experiences (even of something as seemingly trivial as 45 minute flights with or without children seatmates), have other things to do or places to be, are distracted or simply have other interests. Mostly, that’s what your commentators are saying. Do people have the right not to be judged as stiff, miserable and plainly hostile because they don’t want to play with a two year old? I think so. Should people be labelled child-haters because they may have paid for their own babysitter to enjoy a quiet dinner as adults, only to find they’re sharing a restaurant with children with whom they’re expected to indulgently interact? That makes them only frustrated and disappointed (and out $100). Letting your child partake of adult activities and learn to be a good citizen doesn't require having the active engagement and approval of everyone around. Celebrate these milestones as a family -- without requiring every one you meet to actively acknowledge you're doing a great job and still be confident you are! I think the question should be: Do all people (children included) have a right to be respected? And that’s so much easier to respond “yes” to – because respect is EARNED by kind, responsible, considerate behaviour that accommodates the needs of others, as well as ourselves.

Oh -- and is the entertainment media so prone to evil? because there is a market for it. You don’t need to be a Marxist to know that it’s a market-driven economy. Stop reading it and it will stop.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Anonymous, I don't define "civil" behavior toward my child as oohing and aahing over his obvious greatness. I define "civil" behavior as acknowledging his presence as a person, and treating him with respect until he shows he deserves to be treated otherwise.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had people-- not just people in public, but even (once) good (childless) friends of mine who were guests in my home-- completely ignore, or, worse, cast annoyed glares at my child in such a way as to make me extremely uncomfortable on his behalf.

I think people who do not spend a lot of time around small children might not realize how prevalent this behavior is or how disturbing it can be.

If an adult on the street looked you in the eye, smiled at you and said "Hi!" and you completely ignored that person (while acknowledging another person next to him/her), or edged away from that person, or glared angrily at that person in such a way as to imply you were upset by their very presence, would that adult person who tried to greet you in a friendly way have the right to feel a bit put out by your reaction to their attempt at being friendly? Would that person be reasonable to assume he or she was being unfairly snubbed? I would vote, yes.

We are NOT asking you to love our children and go on about how wonderful they are. You may have encountered a few parents out there who do ask you to do that, but those people are likely narcissists, and if they weren't asking you to coo over their baby, they'd be asking you to coo over their little dog, or their fancy car, or their new Coach purse. And considering I feel very sorry for the children of narcissists, if I see a narcissist showing off his/her kid, I make an EXTRA point to treat the kid with civility. After all, it's NOT THE CHILD'S FAULT that the parent is being an ass.

All I am asking, and, I think, all that HBM is asking, is that people treat children with the same sort of casual respect they would treat any other person on the street. Don't glare at them. Don't scoff at them. Don't back away in horrified fascination. And if they say hello, try to say Hi back. It's NOT. THAT. HARD.

If as many people behaved so thoughtlessly toward the elderly or disabled-- i.e., other members of our society whose physical or mental limitations might sometimes affect their behavior-- as do toward children, there would be public outrage.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Jaelithe - couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks ;)

10:26 AM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

Jaelithe - YES. Thank you. Exactly.

And no, no human being needs to earn basic civility or respectful treatment. And again, I'm going even further in saying that even a person who is not being civil or considerate should still be dealt with civility and basic respectfulness. There is no room for "he did this to me first, and so I did it back to him." My kids try that, and it's never a good excuse. I empathize with them, but bad behavior never justifies more bad behavior.

It's not about me wanting anyone to play with my child or coo over them. I'm not naturally a "kid person" myself, so I "get it". It is about wishing people wouldn't openly recoil or roll eyes or openly disapprove or ignore me completely because I walked into a room with a child of any age (and I know quite a few people who openly hate and fear teenagers.)

And this

"And considering I feel very sorry for the children of narcissists, if I see a narcissist showing off his/her kid, I make an EXTRA point to treat the kid with civility. After all, it's NOT THE CHILD'S FAULT that the parent is being an ass."

Amen. And amen again.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

Hmmm ...
First of all, I'm the exact opposite of you. Unpregnant I'm always hungry. Now that I'm pregnant I just can't be that bothered with food. And really I love to eat.
Oops - you said without eating meat. I thought you said without eating meals.
I was raised vegetarian, but I love meat!
But poutine. Mmmmm ... I could go for poutine.
As for coffee when pregnant. I am not stressed about it. I've cut down a lot (from 8 cups to 1 or 2 per day). I think it's okay. My doctor agrees.
Coffee while nursing is another story. My unscientific tests with my son seemed to indicate that if I drank coffee he slept less (as if that was possible). I couldn't give it up, so my compromise was to drink it before noon.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Jaelithe, very well put.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

If you find that holiday, please, please let me know. Because Chocolates on the Couch Day sounds like heaven.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I love Jaelithe more every day.

As for meat, I did not love it during my pregnancy. I could have lived on pasta for 42 weeks, and I have the thighs to prove it.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I asked my OBGYN about the coffee study, and he practically spat. He said it was an utterly useless retrospective study. They called up a bunch of women and asked them how much coffee they remembered drinking while pregnant. He said much more reliable studies during pregnancies have so far shown coffee to be safe.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting discussion that holds many possibilities and perspectives. One question that comes to mind is whose interests are best being served by taking children to such expensive, haute establishments. Sometimes, I fear, it is more about us as parents than it is about the children. I suppose one might argue that if many more parents felt that way, believed it their right to partake in a meal there with their children, justly or not, then these places would cease to have the allure for us that they do. Hence, the Chucky Cheese and the McDonalds, the Rainforest Cafe, and the Pickle Barrel. A couple out on a first date, out to impress with those first stirring hopes of possibility would seek a different venue than those above, for obvious reasons.

It might be argued, as you have, Catherine, that children need exposure to such experiences as preparation for future events in their eventual roles of citizens able to comport themselves in different spaces, at different times. Others might argue that children have more definite place in certain spaces be it libraries, schools, parks, child-friendly restaurants, children’s theatres, etc, and eventually, over time, through broader processes of socialization, learn to adapt accordingly. Still, others, as evidenced by a previous poster, could not personally relate, socio-economic status being the most limiting factor; this a lament of a different sort: “If only I could know your experience.”

Life would be more “solitary, poor, nasty, brutal and short,” to quote Hobbes, if we didn’t give and expect some degree of respect and common decency to all living things, be they children, animals, old people, flowers and our natural world. That being said, we don’t always for varying reasons and with varying personal, social, and political consequences. To act in a prejudicial manner to someone Black, or severely mentally and physically challenged reflects a questionable, shaky moral core, but it must be acknowledged that these are conditions that are permanent, immutable. Childhood, like its bookend old age, are stages of life we will all pass through, very different indeed in duration, nature and scope to other realities that last lifetimes.

In my Grandmother’s words, “where you were, I was once, and where I am, you will soon be.”

9:55 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anon at 9:55 - You raise some good points, but I don't entirely agree with the central claim that there may be 'times and places' that are more appropriate for children.

When I was growing up, there weren't drop-in centres or play sections in the library or restaurants like Chuck E Cheese. These are all relatively modern - as in contemporary - inventions to - what? - make life easier for families, or segregate children out of public life, or a bit of both, or a lot of both. I, for one, appreciate them much of the time, but I also have fond memories of my own childhood, when going out to dinner was going out to dinner, proper, or of going for tea with my Grandma at a nice hotel - experiences which taught me how to comport myself well in the world of adults - a world that all children eventually join. Children don't learn politeness or table manners at Chuck E. Cheese - they are given license to eat and play at the same time. (Also? The quality of food as these places? If I would prefer to not eat it, why should I make my kids eat it?)

When we take WB out to eat somewhere other than a 'family' restaurant, we go early, before prime dinner hour, both because that's what's appropriate for her and to minimize disruption of other diners. But truthfully, as someone said at the other post, haven't you found that adults can be just as - if not more - disruptive to first dates (or even precious child-free dinner dates) than any child could be? Cell-phone talkers, drunks, rude and belligerent people - they're everywhere. Why do we single children out as especially disruptive.

Finally - I agree that childhood is a different condition from disability and race. But I fail to see how the difference between such conditions would make prejudice toward one unacceptable and the other acceptable. We understand ageism, as directed toward the elderly, to be problematic - why would the same not be true when directed toward youth?

10:37 AM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

chocolate is just sweet coffee. I drank a couple cups a day and my girls are calmer than Wondergirl. I think.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HBM, I agree with you. 'Loved the post and your response (10:37). Thank you for stretching our minds one blog at a time.

I think there are two issues here:
Number 1: Access issues. Our community should be equally accessible to ALL PEOPLE (children are people).
Number 2: Judging a book (person) by its cover. It is ALWAYS problematic to approach life with an "I've seen this before" attitude. It's unacceptable in medical practice when taking a case history and it's unnacceptable in life when greeting a child at the entrance to a restuarant (of any type). It is prejudice. It is ageism.

Historically, humans have improved over time, we can only hope one generation improves on the previous. Hell, there was a time in North America when people thought it was acceptable to own other people (and this still goes on in some countries today). I think you are on to something here. I thing society is treating children in an uncivilized way. It will be interesting to see how society thinks about this in 20 years time. Meanwhile, thank you for stretching our minds, making us think, providing a venu, it is people like you that contribute to improving society for all of us.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't worry about coffee, but that's because the smell revolts me to no end while pregnant.
As for the meat issue, I used to be pretty veggie-friendly, but being pregnant brings out the carnivore in me and I just can't help but eat a ring of kubasa as a snack.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this discussion is really bringing up a more general point. People at different stages in their lives have to somehow coexist and ideally they find a way to enjoy it too BUT the point is to be aware that other people are not right there with them. In general I think drunk people in their 20s (like me) can be just as much as a nuissance as screaming toddlers, cell phone yelling bankers and so on. As long as everyone generally makes an effort to respect other people and that includes parents keeping an eye on their kids so that that couple on their first date does not end up with milk all over their cute little outfits as much as it involves cute nervous couples on first dates answering an equally cute "hi" from a toddler and the cell phone yelling banker leaving both parties in peace with his cell phone yelling while enjoying freedom from screaming toddler in his face/annoying couple having semi-sex under the table.

I think I grew up never being taken to restaurants by my parents simply because it wasn't something they did, but I sure like restaurants and I can't imagine not taking my possible future kid to one if I can afford it; I guess it's just about balancing my own right to have a good time and everyone elses.

I know I have been obnoxious while in public, so I can see that from a parents POV those screaming boys abd girls from "MTV girls gone wild" on their way to Cancun are probably the dreaded flight companion because they, unlike a kid, should have learned to behave in public places a long time ago.

5:55 AM  

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