I, Nerd

January 3rd, 2004  |  Published in Uncategorized


Timer is a piece of Palm software that, well, times contractions.

For women in labor.



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So add the Palm to the list of encumbrances I’ll be keeping close

over the next few weeks, along with cell phone. I keep the phone on

about three days out of the month, then I forget to plug it back into

its charger and it sits under a stack of magazines or papers until I

think I need it again. Starting next week, with a return to classes,

I’ll be doing better about that.

But downloading Palm pregnancy software is a welcome diversion from

patrolling parenting web sites.

I collected a lengthy list of links to representative samples of

assorted parenting issues, like the efficacy/desirability of

circumcision, the whole “attachment parenting” thing, discussion

boards about how to teach the kid to sleep, and web pages devoted to

debunking parenting theories the authors didn’t agree with. After a

few days of chasing down each of those rabbit holes, I’m relieved to

say I’m going agnostic on the baby ideology thing.

We’ve got a “baby game plan” that smells about like what we are as

people. We each know what we got from our families that we wanted and

can look back on as good things, and we know what we didn’t get that

we want to provide. We’re trusting ourselves to sort that out as we

go, with help from a few guides here and there. Much more, and I

suspect we’d be moving into the territory of a lot of well-intentioned

but doomed approaches involving attempts to turn the baby less into a

human being and more into a deterministic system from which the

parents can hope to extract predictable results based on consistent


Folks might note the presence of a few buzz-words in my list of

site topics, but little in the way of specifics. That’s because the

other thing I learned as I read through these sites is that people

hang a lot of hope on these methods, and stake a lot of their own

belief in their efficacy as parents on having backed the right

developmental theory horse.

I’ve met a few people hung up on adherence to the right baby

ideology, or the need to file regular status reports on the

curve-busting rapidity with which little Baby X is growing into a

dimension-shifting neo-human, and it always makes me nervous, not

because I think “My own parental fervor will need to be as great,” but

because I sense that discussions on differences in approach will never

be free of at least a little unpleasant dissonance.

Put this all down as incomplete thoughts, I suppose, but it

just seems like hanging so much on “Dr. X’s Guide to Making Your Baby Y

and Z” is a good way to guarantee future misery when the child proves

him or herself to be a human, and not a deterministic system.

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