Sex After Kids

Is there sex after kids? I’m not the most qualified person to answer that question because (a) I don’t have kids, and (b) Sex? I vaguely remember what that is. Luckily for you, you don’t have to rely on your humble blogger for all of your post-baby sex information. I could pretend to be hip and say, “There’s an app for that” but who am I kidding? I’m terminally un-hip. I’ll just tell you that there’s a movie for that.

The movie is called, aptly enough, Sex After Kids, and it springs from the mind of Canadian writer/director, Jeremy LaLonde. Jeremy has assembled a cast that will be well-known to Canadian viewers. Included among the cast are three actors, Zoie Palmer, Kris Holden-Ried and Paul Amos, who appear in the hit Canadian television series, Lost Girl, which is also airing in the United States on Syfy and around the world.

A fund raising campaign is underway via Indiegogo to help make this film a reality. The campaign runs until Friday, April 13th. Here’s one of the trailers to give you an idea about what you’ll see:

If you value independent film, please think about contributing whatever you can. If you can’t make a financial contribution, share the links with friends and family and spread the word through any social media sites you use.

You don’t need to have kids (or even like them very much, frankly) in order to support this film. I support this film because I like smart, intelligent comedies and those can be hard to find. Kind of like my sex life. But that’s another story and not one that will be made into any kind of movie.

Making the Skies Friendly for Adults

I’m sure that most of you have heard about the recent actions of a JetBlue captain when confronted with a disruptive child who wouldn’t calm down before take-off. If not, read about it here. To summarize, he threw the child and her family off the plane. All of us who have suffered through a flight with a child kicking their seat or screaming until dogs in other countries start howling, rejoiced.

What I was most surprised to see, at least on Twitter, was that even the general reaction was favorable. This is progress. People with children are sensitive to criticism about how children today behave and how they as parents, well, parent. I understand that. I’d probably feel the same way if I had children. The fact that I didn’t see an outcry over JetBlue’s actions made me wonder if parents are finally seeing misbehaving children as the rest of us do: as overly-coddled, whiny little brats.

 Maybe this explains the success of Pamela Druckerman’s book about the ways of French parenting, Bringing Up Bébé. It’s been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for three weeks and counting. In the book, Ms. Druckerman discusses the differences between how French and American parents see and treat their children and see themselves as parents. From what I can gather, a pilot wouldn’t have to throw a French family off a flight because of little Monique or Marcel.

 This news story also got me to thinking about an idea I’ve long had for airlines. So, listen up, JetBlue’s Dave Barger and Virgin’s Richard Branson. I think this could be a moneymaker for you. (Feel free to cut me in on some of the action, okay?) I have long thought that airlines should market “Family-Friendly” flights and “Child-free” flights, so that those people with children could have a flight geared towards keeping their children entertained and engaged with other kids. You know, special movies, games, etc. It’s the same idea behind movie theaters having family movie nights. By the same token, the main appeal of child-free flights would be, well, NO CHILDREN! Woo hoo! I don’t have to sell that one very hard, do I?

 When I used to suggest this idea to friends in the past, I was accused of hating children. This is not true. I don’t hate children. I hate the behavior of misbehaving children and the seeming obliviousness of their parents when they misbehave. I will admit to not having the patience gene when it comes to children. I’m impatient about most things. This doesn’t negate the argument for what I think is a fabulous business idea.

 I think this is a much more positive solution than the other one I’ve come up with: The Brat “Watch List”. Just like Homeland Security has a database of names of individuals who want to terrorize our skies with bombs and the like, maybe there should be a database of misbehaving children. Perhaps airlines should set up a “three strikes” type of policy. You get warned and/or reported twice without being thrown off a flight but, if it happens a third time, it’s back to the terminal for you, Junior.

 If it took off with airlines, it could be expanded to movie theaters (except on those designated family movie nights) and restaurants. The possibilities are endless! Going out in public could once again be enjoyable for adults! You can thank me now. And, Mr. Barger and Mr. Branson? I’m open to negotiation. Call me.



Babies Crawl and So Does My Skin

Some of you may remember my rant about the Nutella commercial in which I take umbrage with the premise that giving Nutella to your kids for breakfast is acceptable. Well, boys and girls, once again a commercial has elicited a strong reaction from me and yes, it relates to my childhood. (I know that you’re shocked.)

This time the commercial is for Huggies and it features miscellaneous toddlers crawling all over the floor. I’m sure that most people find it cute, perhaps even amusing. It creeps me out. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Why, you may be asking, does this commercial bother me so much? Well, to answer this question, I need to give you a little back story that may help. In my first post on this blog, I told you that my parents tried for nine years to have a baby and after multiple medical tests and novenas, ta dah! I was born.

Well, with all that effort, you can imagine how wanted I was and how protective my parents were. (I wasn’t allowed to cross the street by myself until I was 10. I’m not kidding.) One of the ways my parents protected me was by controlling my environment. Compared to the rounded corners, helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and the like that today’s kids deal with, my parents seem almost negligent. Then again, back in the 1960s and 1970s, kids got boo-boos and weren’t micro-managed. But that is a different post.

There was one area in particular in which my mother was obsessed. Dirt. I’ve written about growing up with an aversion to the beach because sand was dirty and dangerous. My mother had the same fear about floors. Not any particular floor, but all surfaces on which you walk: linoleum, wood, carpet and of course, pavement. These surfaces were teeming with all sorts of disgusting and unmentionable things. When I was a teenager, my mother and I were at some function and I saw the look she got on her face when some mother put her kid down on the floor to crawl. The look was a combination of shock and disgust.

Naturally, I asked her about this and here’s how the conversation went.

What’s that look for?

That baby. Crawling all over the floor.

That’s what babies do.

You didn’t. We didn’t let you.

What do you mean you didn’t let me?

Floors, no matter how clean, are not
hygienic. That child over there had his
hands where shoes and dogs have been.
Now his fingers are in his mouth. God
knows what germs he’s picked up.

O-kay. How did you stop me from crawling?

You went from standing in your playpen to
walking. Every night, your father or I would stand at
the opposite end of the playpen and get you to walk
to us. Then you started walking all over the place.

Except across the street alone.

What was that?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

So, according to my mother, I went from this:

to this without missing a proverbial beat.

(There was no way this outfit was going to get dirty, no sirree!)

So fast forward to me today at age 46 and this commercial comes on. I don’t see happy, giggling kids scampering across the floor. I see little human Petri dishes of disease. I bet you’re not surprised that I decided not to have children, are you? My cats are enough work and it’s a good thing that they wash their own paws. But, I do have these on hand just in case…

The Costco Commentary

I have a love/hate relationship with Costco. What’s not to love about 36 rolls of toilet paper and ginormous jars of peanut butter? But what I hate are my fellow shoppers. Whether I’m at Costco or anywhere else, I shop like a man. I don’t stroll. I have a list and a purpose. Get in, get out of my way, and go home.

One key to surviving a trip to Costco is to get there early. By doing this, you can avoid the masses clogging every aisle desperate to get a sample of some food or another. Are you really that hungry? I mean, if you can afford Costco, you can afford to buy some damn food, you mooch! Besides, if you’ve had one kebab, you’ve had them all.

I’m beginning to think that Costco is the new “hip” place for retirees to mingle. Aside from gathering around the communal sample trough, you can find senior citizens chatting with old pals in the pharmacy department. Whether it’s commiserating over colonoscopies or harping about heartburn, Costco is the place to be and be bitchy for the over 70 set.

Costco is like other places in the summer when it comes to children. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE AND THEY ARE IN YOUR WAY. I think Costco could make a fortune if they offered on-site daycare. Stop those little rugrats from screaming and running down the aisles and stick them in a room with some books and toys you couldn’t sell and everybody’s happy. Hey, you can feed the kids the damn food samples!

My most recent pilgrimage to the Church of Costco wasn’t too bad on the whole, aside from the damage to my checking account. I didn’t hit anyone in the shins with my cart (though it was very tempting) and surprisingly, there wasn’t a long line to pay. I did wonder where everyone was, however. Then I remembered. They were gulping down gouda and goldfish crackers in aisle five.

Mastery versus Mollycoddling

This article in the July 18, 2011 New York Times posits the idea that today’s “safety first” playgrounds harm children more in the long run than any injuries they could suffer if the playgrounds were less safe. As someone who wrote a paper in college defending cartoons and by extension, their violence, as important to a child’s development, it shouldn’t surprise you that I agree with the conclusion by Norwegian psychologists Dr. Ellen Sandseter and Dr. Leif Kennair.

I’ve noticed a dramatic change when in comes to kids and sports since my early school days in the 1970s. The playgrounds of my youth were full of metal slides that baked in the afternoon sun, monkey bars that were either placed over concrete or if there was sand, you had to watch out for the hypodermic needles lurking just below the surface. Today’s playgrounds are all rounded edges and plastic. Sure, the kids don’t get a boo boo, but what is this protectionism setting them up for?

 Ask this same question about the trend in youth sports to give every kid a trophy just for participating. I’m sorry, but the main purpose of engaging in sports is not to falsely build self-esteem. It’s to provide an opportunity for mastery. Yes, you want kids to have fun and feel good about themselves, but does that mean that disappointment or defeat should be banned from their experience? If a child never learns how to handle defeat and disappointment, how is little Johnny or Jane supposed to deal with criticism from a boss?

A clue may be found in this piece from the Wall Street Journal in 2008. When little Johnny and Jane enter the workforce, they often feel entitled and expect praise from the get-go. These “Millennials”, who were generally born between 1980 and 2001, were pampered and indulged by their Baby Boomer parents from birth. If this isn’t karmic irony, I don’t know what is. To this early Generation X’er (born in 1965), the Baby Boomers can come across as spoiled, ungrateful brats who took all the goodies their Greatest Generation parents gave them and threw it in their faces. To now complain about working with the Millennials they spawned is disingenuous, albeit amusing.

Granted, not every Millennial is an entitled slacker, not every Baby Boomer is a spoiled whiner, and not every Gen X’er is as insightful (or humble!) as yours truly. But, the overall point about whether we are cultivating a culture of healthy empowered individuals or one of coddled, over-protected wimps is worthy of discussion.