Parent Like a Rock Star: Badly, and Loudly

September 30th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  6 Comments

Not Super… Just Mom tipped us (via this heartfelt if rambly post) to People magazine’s profile of Mark McGrath, lead singer of the band Sugar Ray. He and his fiancée, Carin, have just had twins, and we are informed that they went the IVF route after “Herculean efforts” of more conventional babymaking techniques. Let’s set aside that Hercules’ most significant labor was cleaning out the manure-filled Augean stables, which somehow doesn’t conjure up images of a rock star screwing his wife to the point of mutual exhaustion. But never mind that. The thing that leapt out of the story was this quote:

Hartley is a calm and happy baby — always smiling. She sleeps through anything, and melts my heart when she smiles from her soul. Lydon, on the other hand, is a bit more fussy. He needs to be constantly entertained. And if he doesn’t get what he wants he belts out these heavy metal screams (Adam Lambert, eat your heart out!). We had to let him cry it out the other night and poor Carin was crying too … in another room. As for me, I just put on my headphones and let little Ly learn one of life’s great lessons. I think the Stones said it best: ”You can’t always get, whatcha want…”

He put on his headphones to block out the noise of his wife and child crying themselves silly?! Who does this? (Judging by the smirk on his face in the photos, a douchebag, that’s who.) I’m certainly not going to wade into the cry-it-out wars, but there’s something I’d like to note here. We often forget a key piece of information when attempting to manage baby behavior. A 4-month-old is learning a lot of things, but the cause-effect connection is simply not there yet, except in the barest simplest ways: Hungry = cry. Bright light = eyes snap shut. You cannot—cannot—somehow say that you’re “teaching” a 4-month-old a lesson. He can’t suddenly say, “Oh! I didn’t realize that if I just go to sleep, it’ll all be fine.” Baby brains do not yet work that way.

It is as if someone walked up to you on the street and said a nonsense word, like “Bleem.” Then repeated it: “Bleem. Bleem. Bleem.” Then more insistently: “Bleem!” Then urgently, with panic: “BLEEM! BLEEEEEEEM!” If he says it louder, does it make it clearer what that person wants from you? Of course not. It just starts to freak you the hell out. That, I think, is a baby’s-eye view of the world.

In short: Take your damn headphones off and give your kid a hug. And save one of those embraces for your sobbing ladyfriend, too, bud. If the babies keep you awake, well, welcome to daddyhood. You’ll sleep when you’re old, the way the rest of us will.


  1. Daddy Files says:

    September 30th, 2010at 11:42 am(#)

    Wow. Sugar Ray really rubbed you the wrong way huh?

    I’m actually OK with it. For all we know he’s already hugged his baby, fed him, changed him, etc. Now there’s nothing left to do but cry it out, which I think is a perfectly acceptable method and one I used with great success. Some people just can’t listen to their kid cry because it hurts them too much. As long as the kid is safe and well taken care of, I don’t see a problem with the headphones.

    But it makes for easy blog fodder.

  2. Miranda says:

    September 30th, 2010at 11:53 am(#)

    Fab post, says the not super mom herself! Babies aren’t cognitively capable of learning “lessons” at 4 months old. It just isn’t possible.

    And I think the topic at hand is more than just “easy blog fodder.” But maybe that’s just me.

  3. Matt says:

    September 30th, 2010at 12:02 pm(#)

    I think “easy blog fodder” is kind of a redundant term, no?


  4. karen says:

    October 2nd, 2010at 10:31 pm(#)

    Wow. Maybe one of the more succinct No Crying it Out arguments I have come across. Well said. Bleem. Bllllleeeeeeeemmmmmmm.

  5. maya says:

    October 8th, 2010at 1:47 pm(#)


    I mean, what Karen said.


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