Trading Bad for Worse

toddlers and iphones

Harper enjoys some brain-zapping iPhone time.

I’ve been realizing lately that in my attempts to avoid bad things I’m actually exposing my kids to worse things. This is confusing, and a bit irritating. For example, the iPhone situation. I’d been feeling very proud of myself for having made it past Harper’s second birthday without relenting and letting her watch television. No ADD for this one! No brain-washing commercials and stupid cartoons cluttering up this beautiful little skull! Okay, so I let her watch vintageSesame Streetclips on my phone now and then. And okay, she loves to scroll through the photos and videos (uh, of herself). Then I read one of those articles about how cell phones are giving everyone brain cancer and unsuperherolike mutations. I mean, is letting her play with the phone a thousand times worse than just plunking her down in front of an educational DVD? Probably. God damn it.

Then there’s the pink milk. Heaven forbid Harper drink juice or eat candy. I would have an absolute heart attack if she had soda, like the toddler Adam once saw on the subway drinking diet coke out of a baby bottle. (At least it was diet!) But the kid loves Charlie and Lola, and Lola loves pink milk, and so one day I thought it would be cute to offer Harper some Nesquik strawberry milk, which is a glorious Pepto-Bismally shade of carnation-pink. Now she’s hooked on it. She asks me for pink milk about 75 times a day. And then I read about how artificial food dye is shrivelling all the brains of today’s youth. So turns out she’s going to have ADD anyway! I might as well just park her in front the damn tv. I could use the time to read more articles about ways in which I am accidentally ruining my children’s lives.

I get Alton some high-contrast baby board books from the library and then freak out about germs and clean them with countertop spray and then expose him to the all-natural-but-probably-still-toxic-ish-fumes. Hoping to avoid a pacifier, I stick my pinkie finger in his mouth so that he suck away on my nail polish — I’m sure that’s GREAT for him. I swaddle him so he can sleep on his back because of course if I put him on his stomach he would immediately dissolve into a pile of dust, and then in the night he squirms around and busts out of the little straightjackety contraption and wakes up with it scrunched around his neck. Surely that can’t be good. And — I could go on but I’m already getting depressed. Is this just one of the joys of parenting? That no matter what, you are always doing everything wrong? If that’s the case, can I start sullenly drinking wine, chain-smoking, and ignoring the kids altogether, ala Betty Draper, and assume they’ll turn out fine, despite me?

Actually, that doesn’t sound like that much fun. I’d much rather cheers cups of pink milk.

7 responses to “Trading Bad for Worse

  1. Oh Amy, you made me giggle this morning. It’s so true isn’t it? With our first we were clueless and way too young…we were both still in college and had no idea that certain things were bad. With our second we were hyper sensitive to EVERYTHING and followed all the new ‘chic’ baby advice. Guess which one is more laid back, has never been on antibiotics and has the disposition of a sweet teddy bear? Yup, the , “how the hell did he survive us’ edition 1.1 With our third, I’m just going with it. So he’s addicted to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Oh well. He had a binky till he was 14 months old, meh, who cares. He licks the dog’s bowl? Shrug, good for the immune system. lol! No matter what we do I figure we’re gonna screw em’ somehow. It actually makes me feel like a shitty parent even more when my second born obsesses over the possible germs lurking on the library’s wooden train set, whereas my boys, just jump in an play and have a grand ol’ time. hehe. So for Easter the easter bunny brought her a little wristlet bracelet with kid safe hand sanitizer. Hopefully she won’t lick it. 😉

    • Hilarious! That’s kind of what I suspect — that they sort of just are how they are, and that it’s not the things we think to worry about that will end up screwing them up, but rather some other thing we totally didn’t even know about or notice. Oh well, we try.

      And I’m sure your kids are all amazing and perfect. Obviously.

  2. great, honest, funny as hell post, as always. reminds me of what my dad says about his childhood — in those days, there was lead paint everywhere, kids chased the pesticide spray trucks and played in the mist, they didn’t wear seatbelts, etc., yet they somehow turned out okay. i think us moms need to unplug from all the advice and stress and do our best. the kids will be alright.

  3. Amazing maybe. Perfect..um yeah perfect…hehe 😉

  4. I can relate to each and every thing you listed. I was crazy about the tv, the commercials, the swaddle, the toxic cleaners and I can keep going. I also often think that me avoiding those things will cause some sort of backlash trauma. Our only snack is apples and carrots. It worked great for two years but now he is snack crazy when he sees the the crackers and the “fun” snacks that other kids are eating. I just keep telling myself, I am doing my best and you are too 🙂
    Happy I found your blog 🙂

  5. ps. very excited about all the books you listed. Thanks!

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