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What is wrong with us?

September 30th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  3 Comments

sleep positionerAnother day, another parenting story that should have come from the Onion, not the world of Actual News. From the article’s first paragraph:

Sleep positioners marketed with the promise of helping babies sleep safely are too dangerous to use and should not be sold, U.S. officials warned on Wednesday.

I did not buy any of these types of products, but I could have, especially with the first kid, when we were flushed with fear and ready to believe so many things about what babies need. So I want to make it clear that I’m not attacking anyone who bought these (now known to be dangerous) devices that were supposed to help a child sleep safe. I am merely saying that we are all fucking morons, anxious to the point of actually harming our kids, worrying (as Lisa Belkin put it) about the wrong dangers.

I think (and I hope) that 30 years from now, new parents will look back on our generation of parents with a mix of wonder and pity. How did we get so paranoid? Why were we so arrogant to think our plastic devices or novel methods would solve old uncertainties? (Novel methods! To tackle problems that have been around ever since cavemen were having babies!)

Those future-parents will know that what actually happened was that all our tweaky machinations created a bestiary of kids who were never allowed to sleep on their own, or walk outside on their own, or play with sticks on their own. Instead we bought them plastic safety devices that killed them in their sleep.

As for us parents: we fretted longer and worked harder on parenting than any generation before us, and it left us exhausted, narrow-minded, resentful, and dispirited.

And the worst part is that it wasn’t about the kids ever at all. It was always just about us.


  1. Accidents says:

    October 5th, 2010at 10:32 am(#)

    Love this post. A hearty: Indeed, sir.

    And it IS about us. Making ourselves more comfortable, getting more sleep for ourselves, making our kids more portable. Which I’m not 100% against, but it deserves some reflection.

    I am, of course, of this generation of parents so we have a mountain of baby devices in the basement that were given to us or we purchased out of desperation. But we had a kid that just didn’t respond to any of it (swings, soothing devices, etc.), so at one point we just left it down there, and will be donating all of it save a swaddling blanket or two, even though we may have another kid someday.

  2. Nathan says:

    October 5th, 2010at 11:08 am(#)

    Thanks Accidents– I hear you about the basement full of swag. It’s funny–we’ve kept trying to recommend to other expectant friends that they don’t need any of it, but I think the pull is too strong. They put it on the registry anyway. Alas. Landfills galore.


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