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The Wicked Witch Of The West Returns
Lest anyone think I'm going soft after my recent childosaurus posting, here's a Gregg-ism from yesterday. He'd just gotten to my place, and my neighbors had some friends over. The adults were indoors and the kids were out. Gregg said:

Isn't that wonderful, the sound of children, and the knowledge they aren't ours?

My sentiments exactly.

Posted by aalkon at November 25, 2005 9:29 AM

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As someone who also never wanted kids, who liked my free lifestyle with travel and nice restaraunts, but recently acquired a baby boy who went from being a terror to pretty mellow but is now entering the terrible twos, I have to say they can grow on you.

We just got word today that his sperm donor who is in prison for guns/drugs/domestic violence wants a photograph of him, and would we oblige?

Posted by: eric at November 25, 2005 8:19 AM

And my sentiments, too. Whenever someone asks me if I like children, I always say, "As long as their someone else's."

This is not some snide suggestion that I hate children. I really DO like children. But parenting is a 7/24 job. I enjoy the time I spend with children. I can enjoy their enthusiasm and their company. And when I'm tired of them, I can send them home!

Posted by: Patrick at November 25, 2005 8:21 AM

Interesting, Eric. Will you? And why or why not?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 25, 2005 8:25 AM

Eric, I just read your post, and my instinct is to say "NO!" but I would need more information, first. Is this child actually yours now, as in adoptive parents, legal guardians?

In light of all the custody battles that have gone on between adoptive and biological parents, and the shameful mistakes that our legal system has made -- anyone remember that travesty of justice around Baby Jessica? -- if it is understood that you're now the child's parents, tell the inmate to FUCK OFF!

I think it's absolutely sickening that willing adoptive parents can have their child taken from them by biological sperm/egg donors who suddenly change their minds: "Hey, I'm off the crack now, and I've had a steady boyfriend for six weeks, and we think we can make a good home for my kid. Thanks for taking care of him from toddler to fifth grade, but I can take it from here."

Posted by: Patrick at November 25, 2005 8:29 AM

Hell no.

This dirtbag sells meth, beats up women, runs with illegal guns, and I will not let him ruin this little boys life as well. It is somewhat of a moot point right now, since he is a guest of the Washington state penal system for the next 1-3 years. His mother hasn't called to even say hello to her boy for 6 months.

Patrick- he was last dumped on our doorstep back in March, with no paperwork. The bureaucracy to get this little boy residency in Idaho is amazing, since the boy was born in Washington state. Medical care is all cash, since I can't put him on our plan yet. All in all things are very good, he is happy and healthy- right now we are watching Wallace and Gromit, which is infinitely more entertaining than Teletubbies.

And your last sentence is right on the money Patrick- I have heard that in snippets for a year now. And Amy- he still loves running around in Halloweens tiger costume, growling at everybody.

Posted by: eric at November 25, 2005 9:01 AM

Yeah, Patrick has it exactly. And I'm with you, Eric. Parents aren't parents by biology, but by acting parental. A guy who goes to jail for meth is the antithesis of a parent.

And I love the Halloween tiger image!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 25, 2005 9:34 AM

Patrick's a gentleman about it. My distaste for children has energy: I didn't like being a child, wasn't impressed with the childlike characteristics in my own heart or the hearts of those surrounding me, and feel no nostalgia for that vibe in the present day. Bill Mahar once said "Adulthood is where the action is."

What exactly are we talking about? Children are just human beings with human nature. That nature is untamed, which doesn't necessarily make it more attractive. The child's heart hasn't learned courtesy. If you dislike many adults you'll LOATHE most children.

Hang on here, the topic's gonna migrate a little.)

I'd always been viscerally disgusted when seeing women fussing over stranger's kids in public settings; and repulsed when strangers tugged my cheek and patted my own head back in the day. "Who are you smiling at, you repellent old cunt? I don't care if you ARE some old friend of the family, I've never seen you before! Get your fucking hands off me!"

"Marky! Be *NICE* to your fifth-aunt-twice-removed Gertrude!"

It's the third time I've mentioned it here, but it was revelatory when the guy on the radio described the enthusiasm most women feel for childbearing as "erotic." A strange disproportion in the social sphere had suddenly found a complement.

Why is it that teenage boys are more likely to harass girls on account of sex, at least until they're conditioned not to? Why does masculinity require so much more social pressure to keep the lid on? Well, it doesn't. It's just that whole lot of misconduct is sheltered by our presumption of an endlessly beneficent quality to femininity, best expressed in the phrase "motherhood and apple pie." Consider the best families you know: The grown women are no more likely to weirdly handle other's children than the teenage boys are likely to tease visiting mothers for a having a nice rack.

The idea that childhood can be fawned over coarsely and indiscriminately cooed at has some heritage... it's not solely a product of fertile women in a glandular haze.

> I love little children,
> and it is not a slight
> thing when they, who are
> fresh from God, love us.
> -Dickens

I loved that quote, until I hated it. It used to give me the warm fuzzies, but now it puts this twisted view of childhood in the same current as Rousseau, the "noble savages" clown who parked his own (5!) kids in an orphanage. (And by the way, 'orphanage' sounds like a French word. Anybuddy wanna bet?) This zone of thought is one of the smelliest realms of the Western mind, with ugly consequences seen everywhere. (And now back to Amy's post.) For the present discussion we should just note that it doesn't discourage the Mattel & Burger King approach to commercial indulgence of children, which is something that deserves resistance. (See also, "Disneyland Dad.")

Anyway it's good to be in the Patrick/Amy&Gregg continuum in this regard. None of this is meant to be critical of Eric, who's doing the Lord's work with this kid. And Eric, I think you're right about the snapshot. If you ever bring the family to LA, give me a call and we'll take him to the Korean Bell park for a picnic. He can run wild through the old gun battery tunnels and see the sea lions in their pens.

Posted by: Crid at November 25, 2005 1:28 PM

Crid, you've warmed the cockles of my little black coal lump of a heart. Cutting honesty in the face of the propensity of most people on the planet toward lying sentimentalism does that.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 25, 2005 1:34 PM

"Sentimentalism" is the word I was trying to fit in there somewhere but couldn't! Look! It's still in windows clipboard:

sentimentalism,

sentimentalism

See?

Posted by: Crid at November 25, 2005 1:57 PM

Well, you did the heavy lifting!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 25, 2005 2:07 PM

Thanks for the invite Crid, but California is way too crowded for me nowdays. We do go and see the seals, otters and walruses off the Oregon coast pretty often.

I was under the impression you were still in the midwest all this time. Maybe for Christmas I will send you a copy of The Tao of Pooh, which may help to ease that blood pressure...

Posted by: Eric at November 25, 2005 2:23 PM

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