October 30, 2005

What NOT To Name the Baby

Every time I come across this Web site on baby names, I end up laughing so hard tears come out of my eyes. This site reveals just the tip of the iceberg concerning the crimes some parents commit upon their children by way of naming them weird, odd, horrible things.

Mind you, some of the "humor" on this Web site isn't very kind. Still, some of it is dead-on.

Which reminds me of a book I once read long, long ago called People Named Smith, by H. Allen Smith. It is very funny. Long out of print, it is still available in some libraries. If you can't find it there, it is certainly on the used book circuit for very reasonable sums. I just ordered it for myself, because over the years, every now and then, I find myself wanting to quote from it but, not having it to hand, unable to share the humor with others with anything like the original sparkle and wit that H. Allen Smith brings.

October 22, 2005

Vaccinations Redux

Pretty much my entire adult life, I've been suspicious of vaccinations. I am not alone, not by a long shot, and there is a huge amount of data to back us up.

Recently, another piece of evidence arose concerning a coverup regarding the dangers of the mercury present in vaccines.

I would never presume to tell anyone else what to do or not do with their children, but I cannot urge strongly enough that parents do their homework and read everything they can get their hands on concerning vaccines before they decide to vaccinate their children.

One problem is that vaccines contain mercury in amounts that far exceed acceptable levels. This means we are exposing our children to the hazards of mercury poisoning every time we have them vaccinated. For more information, see

There are so many links I could provide on vaccinations, and some books to read too, but this should be enough to start with. I encourage you to search the Internet yourself. Also, remember to ask yourself, when reading about vaccines, "Who has a vested interest in this information?" If you are reading information distributed by vaccine companies, obviously their objectivity is suspect. If the information comes from someone who is only trying to educate people, then objectivity is, perhaps not guaranteed, but certainly a whole lot more likely to be present.

October 17, 2005

Avoiding The "Dead Man" Commands

A long, long time ago, when my daughter was tiny, a co-worker told me that she had learned in a parenting class that the kinds of commands she was giving her children weren't appropriate. She was always telling them to "don't" do this and "don't" do that. Her instructor said these are "dead man" commands--they are commands that you can give a dead man and have him obey.

Well, okay, the image is kind of gruesome, but the phrase is memorable. The idea is that you want to tell your children to actively do something, not to not do something. So, for example, instead of saying, "Don't hit the cat," you would say, "Please pet the cat gently." Instead of saying, "Don't yell," you would say, "Please speak quietly." Instead of saying, "Don't hit your brother," you would say, "Please treat your brother nicely." Instead of saying, "Don't be rude," you would say, "Please be polite." And so on.

Of course, if there is an urgent need to stop something, you can always say, "Stop fighting" or whatever is needed at the time to get your children's attention, and then move on from there.

I never attended that parenting seminar, but I benefitted from my co-worker's sharing of what she learned. As my daughter grew, I made it a habit to give her "living person" requests, instead of "dead man" commands. And now I thought I might share this with you, in case you can benefit from this too, if you haven't already been doing this.

October 04, 2005

A Tempest in a Teacup (or Baby Bottle)

I recently came across a Web log written by a woman who went through elaborate and probably uncomfortable and painful measures in order to get pregnant. Now successful and the mother of a baby boy, she carries on a conversation with the world through her Web log about her parenting experiences. In a recent post, she wails that she made a mistake with her child, and asks for others to post their mistakes too.

Although I have made mistakes with my daughter, I had never done any of the things the other mothers posted: Dropping their children, feeding them soap for medicine, leaving them unattended with sleeping people who had no idea that the baby was in the house, and so on. This is because I was careful and cared about what happened to my child and was horrifically aware of the possible dire consequences if I wasn't careful.

As I read the confessions, I realized that not a single one of these women seemed to be aware that the majority of these "accidents" were due to their own negligence. Instead, there was a lot of smug, self-congratulatory talk going around about how it was all okay and how "everyone" does it. Drop the baby on its head? Fine, fine, we're here together in solidarity with you, sister. Leave the kid locked in the car while you go grocery shopping? Hey, we all make mistakes! Feed them soap, ignoring their screams because you just "know" that they don't have a legitimate reason to complain? Sure, sure, the physical discomfort only lasted a few days, and no one can see the scar that not being trusted or listened to or validated left on his soul.

The Pit of Vipers

I once worked on an archaeological dig, long, long ago while working on my bachelor's degree in sociology/anthrolopology. Each "hole" we were digging was assigned a crew. There was one crew that was so collectively bitchy with each other and toward everyone else that everyone started to call that hole The Pit of Vipers. Mind you, there was a great deal of affectionate amusement in that label, and even the putative vipers themselves took pride in upholding their end of the need to entertain people by their antics. And truthfully, there was no real sting to their bitchiness, but instead a great deal of humor, so that even the targets of their tongues would laugh. At least, that's how I remember it, but that was close to 30 years ago, so it is possible that time has softened the edges.

Still, the point is that sometimes a pit of vipers isn't so benign, and I should have remembered that. I should have just shrugged and moved on when I read these posts. I do know that there are many people who ignore the fact that their children are not inanimate objects, but are instead human beings in their own right who deserve the very best a person can give them in terms of honor, respect, love, and care--includng carefulness. I also know that saying something to that type of person is futile. They just aren't ready yet to take that next step.

I also should have paid attention to my own intuition about the tone of the posters, which was that I had stumbled into a nest of a certain kind of female, and that I had best run far and run fast and not let them know I even saw them.

But I didn't. And that's where I made a big mistake. I found these women lacking in the carefulness department, and then made the unfortunate mistake of posting a comment in which I said so. This was bad enough, but I came across as smug about the fact that I myself had been so careful and conscious and aware of my surroundings and my daughter's whereabouts and so on as to have managed to avoid those kinds of "accidents." The subtext of my message was, "what the hell were you all thinking?!?"

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