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Monday, June 28, 2010

On the incoming wave

As you can imagine, Mr. Canuck and I have lots of big ideas on how we are going to parent our children. Only time will tell how many of them pan out and how many of them will end up being dumb. And because we're pretty sensible people, we are smart enough not to share our parenting theories with the world at large. We know that every kid is different, we know that everything is entirely theoretical at this point and reality is likely to be totally different, WE KNOW. You don't need to tell us that.

There is one parenting stance that we're completely open about, though, and that is our extreme dislike of marketing aimed at children. We both think it's pretty despicable. And for largely that reason, there will be no TV in our house, at least not while our children are small. We do have a TV, but it's used only for DVDs and the occasional episode of Jeopardy!. We don't have cable and have no intention of ever getting it. This way, there are no commercials in our house (except for the hilarious local ones out of Buffalo that we see during Jeopardy!), and that is how we like it. Now, don't get me wrong, we totally get that we can't shelter them entirely, and we don't want to. Of course they're going to see advertising, there's no way to prevent it 100%. But that doesn't mean we have to provide it at home.

The branch of children's marketing that I hate the most, though, is the whole Disney Princess thing. I don't have anything against princesses in general, but the Disney ones....bleh. They all have lessons to teach that I don't want my little girl to learn. Take Ariel, for example: Giving up your voice, literally, is the best way to get a man. Or Belle: If you just love your man enough, he will eventually change for you and stop being so damned scary. Also, Stockholm Syndrome. And every single one of them is completely helpless and powerless over their own lives until the handsome prince swoops in to take them away from all this. (Now that I think about it, though, I do remember Jasmine making some noises about deciding her own future, but I can't remember if she actually did or not. But even if she did, that movie has plenty of other issues.) Little kids are very impressionable, and I just don't want my daughter to think that that's how romance should be.

Now, I know a lot of you are rolling your eyes and saying "It's just a kids' movie, for crying out loud! Not everything has to be a tool of the patriarchy! Kids are totally capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality!" And yes, that is true to an extent. I'm sure they're not going to think that carpets can fly and candelabras can talk. But ideas about how people behave are an entirely different story. Clearly those attitudes about men and women still exist, and they have to start somewhere. Hell, the fact that hardly anybody seems to realize that Edward Cullen from the Twilight books is NOT a romantic hero but a controlling abuser proves that point. (And yes, I have read all four books. I know of what I speak.)

I should add that this is really just for while they're little. I don't have any sort of burning hatred for Disney, I just think they've put some awfully bad morals into their films. (And I haven't even started on racism). I don't intend to ban Disney from the house forever; I'd just rather wait until my daughter is old enough to talk with her about it. And besides all THAT, I just don't want my house filled with Disney Princess shit.

So there you have it, the one parenting theory that I am willing to share with people. Please commence telling me that I am wrong and unreasonable and will ruin my child's life if I don't allow her to watch The Little Mermaid. I can take it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Send me no wine

(Except that you should actually send me lots of wine. It won't be long until I'll be able to drink it again.)

Continuing my musings on Why Pregnancy Is Gross, I thought I'd share with you all the various disgusting things that can be done with the placenta. As hard as it may be to believe, please keep in mind that I am not making any of this up.

(Also, so as to avoid offense, I should point out that obviously there are plenty of people out there who do these things, and that is their right, etc. etc. I just happen to think it's really gross.)

In ascending order of disgustingness:

1. Bury it, then plant a tree over it. Actually, this is something I can get behind. I bet the placenta would be excellent fertilizer, and it would be nice to have a tree commemorating our child's birth. However, I am not doing this in a rental house, and HELL if I am saving a frozen placenta until we buy our own place.

2. Turn it into art. Apparently you lay a sheet of paper over the placenta to make a print, then frame it. To this I say EW.

3. Use it as a dietary supplement. Basically, you get somebody to dry your placenta, turn it into powder, and put it into capsules, and then you consume your own placenta in pill form. Apparently this is very nutritious and can help with postpartum depression. I am deeply skeptical.

4. Eat it. Yes, there are people who do this. If you search the Internet, you can find all kinds of ways to prepare it. Again, supposedly very nutritious and helps with lactation and depression and blah blah blah. Again, I don't really believe it. Yes, animals do it, and lots of people point out that humans are in fact mammals, so why should human birth be any different or more difficult than other species'? Yes, there is some truth in that, but that analogy only takes me so far - and I draw the line well before placenta-eating. I am not into autocannibalism.

5. Lotus birth, or umbilical nonseverance. This is exactly what it sounds like: Instead of cutting the umbilical cord at birth, you leave it intact until it separates by itself in about two to three days. So apparently you're supposed to carry around a chunk of rotting human flesh along with your baby. As far as I can tell, for this one its proponents don't even pretend that it has any physical benefit - after all, once the placenta is detached, it's not sending anything useful down the umbilical cord anymore. Instead, it has something to do with the baby's aura or some such. Again I say EW.

I personally have absolutely no interest in my placenta. If I were giving birth in a hospital, I would say chuck that sucker straight into the biohazard bin, I don't even really want to look at it. Since we'll be at home, the midwives will wrap it up well and put it in the freezer, and we'll toss it out with the rest of the compost on garbage day. (This is perfectly safe and legal, by the way - I checked.) This is just my personal opinion, however - obviously there are plenty of people out there who disagree with me!