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Thursday, April 17, 2014


Oh, hello there!  (Jan 2010)


April 17, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You Know Who Else Loved Productive Mothers?

Amanda tells us about a lovely scandal:

Back in November 2013, Doug Phillips, who, in his capacity as the president of Vision Forum Ministries, is probably the most important leader in the world of Biblical patriarchy, confessed to cheating on his wife and resigned as president of his ministry. “I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman,” he wrote. “While we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.” Shortly after his confession, Vision Forum Ministries closed up shop, unable to continue with the stink of sex scandal upon them.

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of Phillips in the small world of extreme fundamentalists. His father is one of the most critical founding fathers of the Christian  right movement generally, and Doug extended his work by largely building this culture of the far Christian right as we know it, especially if you watch 19 Kids & Counting. The Duggar family are friends and acolytes of Phillips, and Vision Forum, in turn, has used Michelle Duggar in their efforts to demonize contraception, including giving her an award for “Mother of the Year” for having so many children.

Mrs Breeding Vat would've qualified for Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter (1st Class), like...two times over (and counting).  Yeah, I went there.


April 16, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, April 14, 2014


Plowing through detritus in the woods.

Suuuuuch a nice day.

Yes, she can say 'rock'.  And can throw.


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Thursday, April 10, 2014


Sadie meets Papa, July 20, 2012.


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Wednesday, April 09, 2014


I have a stick and I'm not afraid to use it!

Receding snow reveals ice storm casualties.

Intrepid explorers.

Back inside, disrobed, waiting for Mommy.


April 9, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Swiftian Contraception

Oh, this definitely should be #UpForDebate:

The question we ought to be asking is, should we sterilize men to save wonderful wonderful fetuses from death?

Every man over the age of puberty would make a few sperm donations, which are frozen away, then promptly be vasectomized, period, no exceptions. The frozen sperm is saved for when he and his partner decide together to have a child. In the meantime, never again need a man fear being tapped for child support for a child he didn’t consent to. And never again need a woman fear being made to endure pregnancy and labor for a child she didn’t consent to.

It’s true that this would deprive more people of bodily autonomy–all men instead of one third of women. But the harm would be much smaller. Instead of vomiting through nine months of pregnancy and screaming through eighteen hours of labor we would be talking about a half-hour visit to the doctor’s office, of which the shaving would be the most time-consuming part of the procedure.

With every child a deliberate decision on the part of both parents, abortions plummet–not quite to zero, alas, as there are those rare tragedies when a wanted pregnancy goes badly awry–but by easily 90-99%. Surely that is cause for rejoicing, if saving wonderful wonderful fetuses from death was actually the point.

And it may turn out, when it’s men’s bodily autonomy we’re talking about stripping away, that bodily autonomy is important after all, so we’ll live with abortion on demand and without apology. That’s also okay with me.

Quicker and less invasive than pregnancy or some abortions, so I'm on board.  And think of the economic stimulus generated by increased need for medical shavers and sperm bank facilities.  Win-win!

*insert cliche about how abortion would be a sacrament if men could get pregnant*


April 6, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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I Am Not A Swedish Gay Nanny

But it would be great if America Dads could be mistaken for them:

In Stockholm, men and their babies dominate the cityscape: strolling down sidewalks with take-out coffee in hand, tilting strollers onto buses, pushing swing sets, and doling out snacks.
One Swedish technology executive who I interviewed for an upcoming magazine story on the "Nordic model" said a confused American colleague turned to him on a visit to the Swedish capital and asked, “What’s up with all the gay nannies?”

The question definitely earns its place in the annals of cultural assumptions and misunderstandings. But he’s not alone. The “Swedish gay nanny” theme (accompanied with the hashtag #ignorantAmericans) has made an appearance on Twitter. For Americans, who have some of the paltriest parental policies on the planet, it is apparently more logical that nannies – gay at that – would flock to northern Europe than that fathers doing what they are biologically intended to do: care for their young children.

“I think it says a lot more about Americans than it does Swedes,” says Richard Hall, a young Swede holding his 13-month-old daughter Martha in one hand, a coffee in the other, at a funky cafe in central Stockholm. He’s in the third month of the six-month leave he’s taken from his job as a development officer with the Swedish Air Force.

Mr. Hall’s partner stayed home for a year before returning to her work in retail. Now it's his turn, trading in his office desk for cafes, parks, swimming classes, and Kindermusik, until his daughter is a year and a half.

Swedish parents are entitled to a total of 480 days of paid parental leave between the two of them, which can be taken by the month, week, day, or even hour. Women take most of it, according to Swedish official figures (men took 24 percent of it in 2012). But 60 days are allocated specifically to each parent and are nontransferable, in large part as a push for gender equality.

How civilized.  Of course, Swedish men--especially the gay nannies--don't have to worry about playing ball on Opening Day.


April 6, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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Saturday, April 05, 2014


For those silly people not on social media:

Hanging out in his train crate.

She said 'cheese', then 'coot!'


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By Your Leave

In the wake of ignorant comments from Boomer Esiason et al about paternity leave and the Sacred Game of Baseball, Ericka pointed out a Today Show article written by new dad, Craig Melvin:

Realizing the federal government rarely takes the lead on anything, California stepped up in 2002 and became the first state to guarantee six weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers.

Letting all those people leave work will tank state economies. Small businesses can't afford it. Blah. Blah. Blah.

They've done it out West and used a relatively small payroll tax contribution to pay for a better work-life balance. California didn't go broke doing it and neither has New Jersey or Rhode Island, which have similar plans.

The research extolling the virtues of paternity leave is extensive. The most recent and widely cited study came out last year, and was titled "Children's Chances."

It concluded what many parents already knew: "When fathers take leave during infancy they are more likely to be involved in their children's lives down the road."

While some contend government's role is already outsized and even a modest few-cents-per-pay-period payroll tax would be too much, I would argue a modest investment that encourages fathers to start off on the right foot is a more than worthwhile investment, considering we all pick up the tab down the road when children whose fathers weren't there start growing up. 

Just as with early education, the more we as a community can do to nurture kids' development, the better future returns we all benefit from.  And, you know, it's just nicer to help out your damned workers and their families.  You'd think the richest, greatest country in the world, which can somehow afford to extend its military power to all corners of the globe, could do a little more at home for the people its ostensibly protecting with all that force projection.

None of this will change, though, particularly with paternal leav, unless our society changes its overall mindset about sharing parental responsibilities.  So pushing back on Boomer is an important thing.  But even "enlightened" dads like Melvin still can't shake the overriding assumptions about a father's role in raising children.

First of all, it's of note that his article appears in the Today Moms section.  Not Today Parents.  I mean, I get they might've done some demo research and find that dads just don't watch Today or visit their interwebs, yet it's still emblematic of general attitudes.  A simple shift in that presentation would interrupt the default.

And while I don't really want to be nitpicky, I immediately was stopped in my tracks by this sentence:

I wouldn't have traded it for anything, but that wasn't nearly enough time to bond with my new son, help change those diapers...

"Help change" those diapers, not just "change" them as an ostensibly 50-50 co-parent dude would.  Again, a minor thing, but I think represents internalization that dads are still Second Parent, particularly on icky tasks like wiping poopy butts.

Being one of a mere 150k stay-at-home-dads in the US, I'm obviously a bit sensitive about such things.  Every time I'm out with the kids I invariably get the "oh, it's dad's day" line from well-meaning people.  I hear stuff like, "it's great that you babysit so Ericka can work."  Yadayadayada.  It's the pleasant rarity to have somebody offer a gender neutral, "wow, you hands are full!"  

Certainly the Pritsky-Garstkas are anomalous, and most likely that will be true for a long, long time in America, even with all the change we've seen in family structure and assumptions in the last couple of decades.  Regardless, our entire society could still benefit from a change in language, attitude and especially legal rights for all working parents.


April 5, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, April 03, 2014


Sadie's about 6 weeks here.


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Wednesday, April 02, 2014


Watching Mommy's phone together.


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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Spring Has Sprung?

Two dud storms, now a few days in the 40s.  Our walk to school will soon be muddy rather than snowy.


April 1, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Switch On The Modest Proposal

No more free rides for the Childfree!

[A]s a childless professional in my mid-30s, I often reflect on the sacrifices working parents make to better the lives of their children. And I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I ought to pay much higher taxes so that working parents can pay much lower taxes. I believe this even though I also believe a not inconsiderable share of my tax dollars are essentially being set on fire by our frighteningly incompetent government. Leviathan is here to stay, whether I like it or not, and someone has to pay for it. That someone should be me, and people like me.

Who should pay more? Nonparents who earn more than the median household income, just a shade above $51,000. By shifting the tax burden from parents to nonparents, we will help give America’s children a better start in life, and we will help correct a simple injustice. We all benefit from the work of parents. Each new generation reinvigorates our society with its youthful vim and vigor. As my childless friends and I grow crankier and more decrepit, a steady stream of barely postpubescent brainiacs writes catchy tunes and invents breakthrough technologies that keep us entertained and make us more productive. The willingness of parents to bear and nurture children saves us from becoming an economically moribund nation of hateful curmudgeons. The least we can do is offer them a bigger tax break.

Think of it this way: if the children we Breeders are given a good start, they'll be able to better fund Social Security when there's nobody else around to take care of the aged Childfrees.  Otherwise you nonbreeding people will die alone and be eaten by your cats.  Which will cost the economy a lot in lost revenue for Purina.


March 31, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Switch Off The Racism In Kids

Parenting is hard:

Kids actively try to understand and construct rules about their environment. As they do, they engage in what is called transductive oressentialist reasoning, which means that they simultaneously categorize people and objects according to multiple dimensions—so they might believe, wrongly, that people who have the same skin color have similar abilities or intelligence. They also notice class-race patterns—for instance that white people tend to hold privileged jobs or positions (or play them on television). One study found that by age 7, black children rated jobs held by blacks as lower in status than jobs held by whites. In other words, as Winkler wrote in a 2009 paper, “children pick up on the ways in which whiteness is normalized and privileged in U.S. society.”

Beverly Tatum, a race-relations scholar and the president of Spelman College in Atlanta, has referred to this pervasive cultural message as a “smog in the air,” noting that “we don't breathe it because we like it. We don't breathe it because we think it's good for us. We breathe it because it's the only air that's available.” Ultimately, kids may infer that the patterns they see in privilege and status are caused by inherent differences between groups. In other words, they may start to think that whites have more privilege because they are inherently, somehow, smarter or better.
[I]f children as young as 3 develop racial prejudices when left to their own (cognitively biased) devices, it may help for parents to intervene and, you know, actually talk to their kids about race. “Don’t you want to be the one to suggest to them—early on, before they do form those preconceptions—something positive [about other races] rather than let them pick up something negative?” asks Kristina Olson, a University of Washington psychologist who studies social cognitive development and racial bias. “White parents seem very, very resistant to talking about race—even really liberal ones—and they have this attitude of ‘I wouldn’t want to talk about it because it would make it real to my kids.’ But inevitably, it’s their kids that show these really strong race biases.” In fact, Olson says, when parents don’ttalk about race, kids may infer from this silence that race is especially important, yet highly taboo—basically, the last thing you want them to think.
But how should white parents talk about race with their kids? “It depends,” Winkler says, “on who the kid is, where they’re living, what the context is, how old they are.” But, generally speaking, be upfront and specific. If little Henry makes a mortifying comment in the grocery store about someone’s skin color being “dirty,” don’t shush him and change the subject or say something vague like don’t say things like that; it’s hurtful. Use the moment to explain what skin color is. An appropriate response might be, “Honey, that little girl is not dirty. Her skin is as clean as yours. It’s just a different color. 

The "dirty skin" thing hasn't come up for Sam yet, but it did for me when I was about 7.  My parents took me to their colleague's place for treats after some sort of library event.  I asked for vanilla ice cream and was given the kind that has little bits of vanilla beans in it, which I'd never encountered before.  

When the woman excused herself for a moment, I leaned over to NTodd's Pa's Wife and noted sotto voce that the stuff was dirty--I recall my concern was that some of her darker skin had rubbed off.  Mom patiently explained the nature of my dessert and human skin differences.

It's a dicey thing here in lily white rural Vermont to talk about such things with our blonde-eyed, blue-haired Slavic-Aryan children.  Sam's classmates are all light-hued, and otherwise the kids don't run into a lot of different skin tone in their normal day, even if we run into "urban" BTV.  The most diversity they get is from Sesame Street and Teletubbies.

Sam does sometimes pick up on some asymmetry or injustice in even the most innocuous environment, like a Disney movie or whatever.  Then we do note whatever differences between people are present, why they might cause different treatment in the context, and why that's not so cool, etc.

We want him to see nobody's exactly the same because otherwise he'll just default to white cismale privilege being the norm, which, you know, it really is in our society today.  We only help perpetuate our racism by pretending to be colorblind.


March 31, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


Sam meets his sister.


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Sadie's Learning Her Place

In the kitchen, of course.

Actually, Sam had monopolized the little kitchen set and is annoyed that Sadie gets a turn.  In addition to being primary caregiver, Daddy's the one who generally cooks so this is a gender role reversal in our household.  It no longer causes controversy or confusion with the neighborhood girls who have now pretty much figured out we present non-traditional models.


March 24, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


Left to right: NTodd's Pa (sans beard due to his CO alternate service), NTodd's Pa's Wife (in a family way), Joe Somebody (treasurer of the Lewisburg Friends Meeting), Euell Gibbons (the naturalist and my godfather).


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Monday, March 17, 2014

You'll Never Read 'Goodnight Moon' The Same Way Again

This is the Greatest Thing Ever:

What begins as a simple observation that it takes the bunny in Goodnight Moon an hour and ten minutes to go to bed (did you ever notice the clock in the bedroom?) turns into a highly entertaining, full-blown astronomical analysis, in this post by Burrito Justice.

The analysis begins with an inspection the Moon's path across the sky...

Helpfully, Burrito Justice created a GIF of the Moon on the rise from the six pages on which the satellite is visible. In doing so, two things become clear. One: the moon in the story travels only about half a moon-width per 10 minute interval, as opposed to the expected five moon widths. Two: the moon actually gets bigger. "Maybe the bunny and the old lady are actually in a space elevator, getting closer to the moon as he gets into bed?" muses Burrito Justice. "Or as suggested by @transitmaps, the bunny can bend space and time? I do not have a good answer to this conundrum, but that is what the comments are for."

These scientific failures mean I can no longer suspend my disbelief...


March 17, 2014 in Family Life, Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

How Come Nobody Ever Writes About The Happy Rape Victims?

You know the school that censored a student publication for discussing rape culture?  Athenae speaks for me about our daughters:

Of course I wouldn't want her reading about rape in high schol. 

Of course I wouldn't want her reading about rape jokes, ha ha so funny.

Of course I wouldn't want her reading about how she must prepare for a situation in which she might be attacked and then be belittled for it. Be told it's her fault. Be told it wasn't "really" assault. 

Be told she shouldn't have walked alone at night. She shouldn't have been at that party. She shouldn't have had that drink. She shouldn't have smiled at that nice boy she liked, that she should have been able to expect liked her back. She shouldn't have let him kiss her. She shouldn't have let him anything. Let him. 

Of course I don't want her reading about rape. But she has to read about rape, if only to understand that if (when, most likely, god, when) it happens to her friends, or God forbid to her, it will not be her fault, and she will not be to blame, and there will be nothing she could have done to prevent it. 
You know what's worse than reading about rape? RAPE. Rape is worse than reading about rape. And rape will keep happening while the issues so excellently raised in this high school publication are buried so deep that young men and young women think this is something they can't talk about. Can't deal with. Can't eradicate. 

Same goes for my son, too.


March 16, 2014 in Family Life, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Family Selfie

Back from Mount Peculiar and still in a good mood.


March 15, 2014 in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack