Today I threatened to punch Dr. Harvey Karp, the pediatrician best known for his “Happiest Baby on the Block” series of books and videos, in the face.
Now, normally, I’d be happy to leave this blog post at that—Angry Dadblogger vs. Caring Doc!—but sadly, there was more to it than that. First of all, I was on a TV program, ABC’s “Moms Get Real,” which actually “airs” online. Second of all, Dr. Karp was on a live feed from Santa Monica, and though my fist packs a wallop, it doesn’t quite go coast-to-coast.
Most importantly, I didn’t really want to punch him in the face. Actually, I wanted to thank him. The show’s host, the other guest, Dr. Karp, and I had been discussing temper tantrums and how to deal with them—a subject I know well from my own past, from my research into the YouTube meltdown video phenomenon, and from Sasha’s increasing willingness to throw a fit on the floor of the F train.
When I asked Dr. Karp’s advice, he first told me what not to do—speak in that cutesy, parent-to-baby, faux-calming voice that might seem to be appropriate but is really infuriating. So infuriating, in fact, that I felt anger welling up and then issued my paper-thin threat.
What made me so angry? Hearing my own voice in his. I often hate the way I sound when I talk to Sasha, whether I’m doing that awful soothing voice, or talking baby talk, or putting on the stern voice to order her around. They all sound terrible. Really, I didn’t want to punch Dr. Karp—I wanted to punch myself.
Anyway, it’ll be a week or two before the segment “airs,” but we’ll post it here when it does. In the meantime, if you’re interested in punching me in the face, I have one thing to tell you: Get in line.